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About 2 1/2 cups fresh blackberries
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
juice of six limes
generous handful of fresh mint
sparkling water
ice
Optional: booze. Choose your poison. We used vodka, but I think it would be also good with gin or rum. Or skip the sparkling water and use sparkling wine instead, maybe even with a dash of some fruity liqueur like Cointreau or Creme de Cassis. And believe it or not, it really is delicious as a virgin cocktail–always nice to have that option.

Combine 1 1/2 cups blackberries with water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Puree in a blender with 1 cup uncooked blackberries and lime juice. Strain mixture into a pitcher or glass jar and chill until party time. Can keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for several days. Put 2-3 cups of ice into a large pitcher with mint leaves and muddle with a wooden spoon until mint is nicely bruised and aromatic. Add 1-2 cups of blackberry mixture (sorry, I did a bad job measuring once the guests arrived, so you’ll have to wing it from this point forward), and about 4 cups of sparkling water. Booze it up to your heart’s content—as my dinner guest, “Ms. T Too” put it, “I’ll have the high-octane version, please”—and serve garnished with extra mint and lime wedges, maybe even a blackberry or two.

From the “Close Your Eyes and Pretend It’s Summer” feast.

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