This blend of hedgerow fruit and local Dorset vodka is one of our signature drinks. If you can’t get hold of fresh berries, defrost the same amount of frozen instead.
300g blackberries – hold back 6 berries, to garnish
1 pinch salt
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tbsp apple balsamic vinegar – the best you can get hold of: we use Liberty Fields’ six-year-old aged one
1 tsp lemon juice
50ml vodka – we use Black Cow, which is brewed locally to us in Dorset
Sparkling wine, well chilled, to top – again, we use a local one, namely Furleigh Estate Classic Cuvee
Put the blackberries, water, sugar and salt in a pan and bring up to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cook over a low-medium heat until reduced by half, then turn off the heat and stir in the thyme. Leave to infuse for 20 minutes, strain into a jug through a fine sieve or muslin, then stir in the vinegar and lemon juice, and taste – adjust the sweetness and/or acidity to suit your personal tastes.
Divide the six reserved blackberries between two coupes (at the restaurant, we rub the rim of the glasses with more thyme first, to enhance the aromatics), add 25ml vodka and 50ml syrup to each glass, and muddle (ie, bash) the fruit. Top with sparkling wine and serve.