Blackberry Thyme Lemonade

On a whim one night in grad school, while aimlessly wandering the aisles of the Fresh Market not too far from my apartment, I decided I neeeeeded a parsley plant. I think the reasoning behind this decision was twofold: I was tired of forever buying bunches of parsley (literally...every trip to the grocery) and the tiny green plants were so cute. I rationalized it, "it can sit on my kitchen table! I don't have a centerpiece!" and into my cart it went.

When I left Athens and moved back to Chicago, I left a lot of my stuff behind because my lease wasn't yet up and, well, I was driving a itty bitty Honda Fit 700 miles. Somehow my poor little parsley plant was forgotten in the midst of all the planning and packing up. Unsurprisingly, when I made it back to pack up the rest of the apartment, the little plant hadn't made it. 

Instead, when I got back home I headed to the nearby nursery and bought a new little guy, along with rosemary, lavender, lemon verbena, mint, oregano and thyme. So since then I've been up to my elbows in fresh herbs, trying to cook up (ha!) new ways to use them all up. Enter this blackberry thyme lemonade, somewhat modeled off a mint version we made at work several years ago. The addition of fruit and herbs gussies that classic summertime sipper up a bit. And homemade lemonade really isn't all that much more difficult than using the mix, anyway. BUT, if it's Friday (or Saturday or Sunday, or, let's face it, any day) and it's been a long work week, consider mixing the blackberry thyme lemonade concentrate with some sparkling wine. Bubbles make everything festive, in my opinion. Just don't use your fanciest bottle - all those other flavors you've got going on won't let you enjoy it. This is your opportunity to use up that bottle of cheap stuff you've had lingering in your fridge.

Blackberry Thyme Lemonade

1/2c granulated sugar

1/2 c water

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

1 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 6 lemons)

1/2 c blackberries

seltzer water or club soda OR Prosecco, Champagne, Cava, etc.

First, mix up your simple syrup. Add sugar and water to a small saucepan. "Cook" (not really) over low to medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the solution is clear. Turn off the heat and add the thyme leave to let the steep while the syrup cools. Feel free to strain the mixture if you'd like, I left the thyme leaves in because I thought they looked pretty.

Pour lemon juice in a bowl and add the berries. Blitz with an immersion blender if you've got one, otherwise feel free to blend another way. NOW strain the mixture. Add syrup to taste (it really does depend on your personal lemonade preferences, as well as how tart your blackberries are - this time, I used it all). Pour it all into a pitcher and top with your bubbly liquid of choice (or flat water, there's nothing wrong with simple). Frozen blackberries make excellent ice cubes, but feel free to just use regular ice. Sip whilst sitting on a porch or patio while you still have the chance!