I doubt I’ve ever ordered a Gin and Tonic at a bar, but Danny makes sure to always have some tonic around the house for this classic cocktail. This week we found Meyer lemons at Fresh Market, and I tried my first one. These lemons, believed to be a cross between a lemon and a mandarin or some kind of orange, are smaller than regular lemons and the color of the peel is more intense and more orange as they ripen. Cut into one and it’s obvious why these are special. Their scent is so much more complex than the alluring yet one-note citrusy smell of lemons. These Meyer lemons smell floral and musky, and their juice is sweeter and less tart than true lemons.
With these around, I remembered a variation I’d seen on a G&T with blackberries, Meyer lemon, and mint. The combination tastes just as good as it sounds. It’s incredibly refreshing, and the muddled blackberries instantly stain the drink a vibrant shade of red that deepens to purple at the bottom.
I still have a few more Meyer lemons, and I’ll be browsing through this list of 100 ways to use them from The LA Times. But one or two may have to be sacrificed for another round of these gin and tonics.
p.s. The second In Our Kitchen column ran in the Tampa Bay Times this week.
blackberry and meyer lemon gin and tonics
Meyer lemons are sweeter and more fragrant than regular lemons, but if you can’t find them feel free to sub in regular lemons. Keep in mind that a lemon at room temperature will give up more juice. This cocktail is refreshing and strong; you can easily bring the 3 ounces of gin down to 2.
10 large mint leaves, plus a couple of sprigs
1 Meyer lemon
2 tablespoons simple syrup
6 ounces London dry gin
Muddle 3 blackberries, 5 mint leaves, the juice of half a lemon, and 1 tablespoon simple syrup in the bottom of each tall glass. To release more of the mint flavor, rub the leaves between your fingers before adding them to each glass.
Fill each glass with ice. Pour 3 ounces of gin in each glass and top off with tonic water. Stir and garnish with a sprig of mint
Serves 2. Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon.