When you move into a new house, there’s always a lot to get acquainted with. There are the strange noises of the house settling at night. That one creaky floorboard that yelps loudly whenever you step on it. The outlet in the office that only works when it darn-well feels like working.
And then there are the neighbors. Neighbors are kind of like roommates, don’t you think? It takes a little while to get used to their quirks and to learn just how they—and you—fit into your little neighborhood community. How you’ll learn to coexist in a space that is, despite all the goat cries and chicken squealing that happens bright and early each morning, packed-tight and ultimately urban.
And after a little more than a year in this place, I felt like I’d finally gotten it down. You know, the house noises and the neighbor relations. That is, until this summer. Because when this summer rolled around, it brought with it a whole new experience of friendly neighborhood interactions that, for whatever reason, didn’t happen last year.
Well, for the most part it was friendly. There was an incident this past weekend where our neighbor’s 3- and 4- year-old boys thought it would be a brilliant idea to have a “snowball” fight with the fallen plums from their tree. We ended up with around 100 bruised and splattered plums all over our yard. The boys thought it was hysterical. Bourré was ecstatic. Bourré’s two parents who were scrambling all over the yard gathering the fallen plums so that the dog didn’t choke in his attempt to inhale them as quickly as they flew across the fence? Not so much.
But aside from, or perhaps in addition to, the plum-ball fight, the neighbors have been kindly and unknowingly sharing the bounty of summer with us. On the left, a few strawberries have peeked their way from our neighbor’s yard through our slatted bamboo. Straight behind, a whole bushel of neighborly blackberries popped over and into our yard. And on the right, a giant branch of raspberries whose pink flesh caught my eye just a couple of weeks ago as its shoved past the broken slat in the fence. As far as I’m concerned, if it’s crossed over the fence and into my yard, that officially means you’d like to share your berries with us. And why yes, we will happily accept.
It’s those berries — donated by neighbor-to-the-right — that provided the inspiration for this Raspberry Thyme Smash. It’s a drink that’s light, bright, and, above all (since I’m by no means a master of spirits), easy. The muddled raspberries and thyme are shaken with gin, lime juice, and simple syrup, which is later strained through a fine-mesh colander so that just the sweet, nectary juices come through without any of seeds.
It’s the kind of cocktail that’s easy enough to throw together as a single evening sipper. Or, if your neighbor’s raspberry plants are spilling over your fence and you take that as your personal excuse to get boozy on a Wednesday night, you could make a dozen. As someone who shamelessly gobbles up all of the fresh fruit and vegetables that crosses her property line, I wouldn’t judge you either way.
This post is part of the #DRINKTHESUMMER celebration hosted by Sherrie and Renee! Be sure to check out their blogs so you can take a peek at all of the seasonally-inspired cocktails dreamed up by some of my favorite food creatives. They’re are as colorful as a bag of skittles and as diverse as the United Nations. And, just like skittles and the UN (yep!), this round up of drinks is pretty rad.
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, divided into 2 and 2
- 20 raspberries, divided into 18 and 2
- ½ cup of gin (I used Tanqueray)
- 6 tablespoons of simple syrup
- 6 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
- Remove the leaves from 2 thyme sprits and place in the bottom of a cocktail shaker (or a mason jar with a lid if you don't have a shaker.) Add 18 raspberries. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a muddler, muddle the raspberries and thyme to release their flavors and liquids. Make sure the raspberries are as muddled up as possible. Add gin, simple syrup, and freshly squeezed lime juice and fill shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until outside of shaker turns cold to the touch, about 30 seconds.
- Pour the contents of the shaker through a fine mesh strainer and into a large glass, being careful to pour slowly so the liquid doesn't spill out. You'll divide the liquid again on your next pour so you don't need 2 glasses. Press down on the strainer to get as much of the liquid out as possible. Discard the solids. Then, pour it through the mess strainer again, this time back into the shaker. Again, press out as much liquid as possible from the mesh strainer. Divide into two coups, pierce the remaining thyme sprigs with the remaining raspberries, and serve.