makes 2 cups

music pairing: Breathe by Alexi Murdoch

Aside from making homemade soda and cocktails, this fruity syrup is perfect for pouring on pancakes, waffles, or spooning onto a buttered baguette. I also had the thought today to make slushies with it—just add some conserves and ice cubes to a blender. I did this last year with my cherry conserves, which coincidentally is the last recipe I posted before Mikey passed away—perhaps a sign that everything really does come full-circle?

Come to think of it, this could be a great base to add to vanilla ice cream for a homemade blackberry ice cream too. Of course you can just pour it over ice cream and cut to the chase.

1 pint blackberries

1 cup (200 grams) sugar

3-inch by 2-inch piece of lemon rind (with the white pith)

2 sprigs of lemon thyme, leaves only (discard the reedy stems)

Pinch of fleur de sel

Add the blackberries and sugar to a deep bowl. Use the back of a fork to mash the berries—they don’t all have to be completely mashed (I like to mash about half, for a chunky consistency).

Add the lemon rind and lemon thyme. Stir well until everything is combined and you have a juicy-looking syrup. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours, until it looks slightly thickened and the acid in the lemon rind and berries has mostly dissolved the sugar.

Pour the mixture into a 2-quart pot. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer, with bubbles gently popping to the surface. Let it cook for 2 minutes, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Transfer to clean, sterilized glass jars and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes for long term storage. You can alternately let the conserves cool, and store them in the fridge.

Homemade Blackberry Soda

serves one

3 ice cubes

3 tablespoons (55 grams) blackberry conserves

6 ounces (125 ml) of seltzer or sparkling water, from a freshly opened bottle

Add the ice cubes to an 8-ounce glass. Pour in the seltzer. Using a long iced tea spoon, stir in the blackberry conserves. Serve immediately, and with the spoon so you can scoop up the bits of fruit at the bottom.

Blackberry Lillet Sangria

serves one

Ice cubes

3 tablespoons (55 grams) blackberry conserves

4 ounces (125 ml) selzter or sparkling water, from a freshly opened bottle

2 ounces (62 ml) well-chilled Lillet

Fill an 8-ounce glass with ice cubes. Add the seltzer and Lillet. Stir in the blackberry conserves. Serve immediately.