Home Wet Bar

Entertaining Gifts

Jul 28, 2014


When I was a kid, we picked mulberries every summer.

There are trees all over Ontario in big cities and small towns. I never thought of it as foraging, we just knew where there were trees and we'd go and pick them.  It's a fond memory that I wanted to pass down to my son. In his usual style he was open to the adventure, a trait that will serve him well in our family.

There was a mix of unripe and fully ripened berries on the tree.

I had passed by a few trees near a bridge and some train tracks a week before that seemed accessible and close enough to home. We set out with a big bag and fingers crossed that we hadn't waited too long. The berries have a long season but they're popular with birds and like minded folks.  

Harvesting wild food in an urban center requires some flexibility (and knowledge, please don't eat something you can't properly identify) . The best way to get them out of the tree is to shake it a bit, anything that falls is ripe. I didn't have that option on the very busy, west end street corner. Instead I demonstrated to my two year old how to dangerously climb the railing of a bridge...something I'll likely be scolding him for in a few years. 

Luckily, there was a second tree around the corner from my precarious perch where he and I parked ourselves to scour the lower branches for anything that looked ripe.

We didn't end up with many. A combination of timing and opportunity are needed to walk away with a good haul but don't let this discourage you. You're not baking a pie, just making a Smash. You don't need a huge amount to make a few drinks. If you're feeling brave and don't mind a few stares from strangers, get out and forage some mulberries in your neighborhood. They can often be found near train tracks, old playgrounds and the edges of unpopular fields. Your neighbor may have a tree in their yard but you'll have to get permission for that. 

I've elected to make a modern smash, with seasonal fruits. The older recipes are lovely in their own right, simple and worth exploration. The Julep we made two weeks ago would be the parent drink of a classic smash. I've made a more decorative and updated version if for no other reason than I went to the trouble of collecting the berries and they're worthy of some attention.

Foraged Mulberry Smash
1 1/2 oz white rum
1 wedge lemon, seeded
1 tsp superfine sugar
8-10 wild mulberries
8-10 mint leaves
splash of soda or mineral water
sprig of mint and more mulberries for garnish

In the bottom of an old fashioned glass add mint, lemon, sugar and mulberries muddle gently. Fill half way with crushed ice, pour over rum, stir. Fill with more ice, top with splash of soda or mineral water, decorate with mint and berries.

Are you an urban forager? Maybe you prefer to get out into the woods to forage? Make yourself a foraged cocktail and tell me all about it in the comments.

As always a big thank you to our friends at Mixology Monday for the inspiration. 
Stacy Markow came up with the perfectly seasonal idea to make smashes.
Read the Roundup of all the entries.

No comments:

Post a Comment