Is there a homemade drink as universally beloved as lemonade? Don’t answer that. I don’t know. But I feel like lemonade and all of its variations are the most widely shared beverages on restaurant menus. Often, all it takes is a new twist on an old classic for a drink to seem new and born again. I will never tire of lemonade, but sometimes I like to venture out into the forbidden, uncharted waters and try a spin on lemonade’s lesser appreciated cousin—limeade.
There is no reason for limeade to sit second string to lemonade the way it does, but the facts are the facts, and limeade just simply isn’t as highly regarded as lemonade. Further, limeade has some typical mixers that are just redone over and over. The biggest offender? Cherry. Cherry limeade is FINE. There’s not anything wrong with it. It’s tart and refreshing, etc. But is that all limeade deserves? Some cherry juice? I don’t know. I feel like we all can put in a little more effort than that. This could be an artful combination, like that Major Lazer and La Roux Gucci Mane "I'm Not Your Lemonade" mashup. I am usually a Gucci Mane purist and don't like him remixed into other genres, but even I can admit that was art. This idea came to me when I was in the grocery store looking at berries. I saw containers of blackberries, and I knew I wanted to use some for a drink. Most of the time when I come up with drink ideas, it’s because I went to the store and just looked at the produce, poking and prodding it to see what was good. I was fixated on these berries. I bought some and went home. I try to balance out my recipes according to what people can just buy at a regular store without hunting down too many weird or rare ingredients. I have some more unconventional recipes coming, but this one doesn’t require a lot of hunting or ordering anything, and this is a nice recipe for summer (YES, it’s STILL summer)... My only misstep here was not counting exactly how many limes I used, because I got overzealous and squeezed too many and made a cup and a half of lime juice, which is way more than I needed for this. This recipe makes a pitcher.
You will need:
- 6 cups water
- ¾ cup blackberry juice
- 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons blue agave
- ⅓ cup sugar
- a food processor, juicer or blender
- a pitcher
I started by juicing the berries. I don’t have a juicer; I use a food processor or blender every time I need to juice fruit. It’s only a step or two extra, which isn’t a big deal to me. I used two 6 oz containers of blackberries to juice enough for this recipe. I put them in the food processor with a splash of water to get them to a liquid consistency, then ran them through an extra fine mesh strainer twice to separate the seeds. It didn’t take long at all. Then I set aside the blackberry juice and squeezed the limes. This is where I messed up and just went absolutely nuts squeezing limes, so again, I’m not sure how many limes it was, but I used ¾ cup of lime juice. I poured 6 cups of water in the pitcher, added the lime juice and blackberry juice to that. I added ⅓ cup of cane sugar and 2 tablespoons of blue agave and stirred it all together. Then I added 1 ½ tablespoons of vanilla extract. I chilled this in the fridge for a few hours, then rimmed some glasses with cane sugar, poured in the blackberry vanilla limeade and garnished with a lime slice. These garnishes are not necessary, as most garnishes aren’t, but it looks beautiful and festive if you’re entertaining or just want a drink that looks nice for yourself. Bottoms up, baby!!