raspberry french 75
What kind of college has no football, no fraternities or sororities, and believes that one person can change the world? The kind of college my twelfth grade self had her little seventeen-year-old heart set on. More specifically, Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. In the wave of post-SAT college literature that flooded my mailbox (I must have checked a box: “Would you like to receive information from every college on the planet?”), Warren Wilson stood out. They had a farm, right there at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where the green and the blue and the fog all merge into one misty cavalcade of beauty. A farm, which presumably you could work on instead of, say, going to Biology class.
In retrospect, that’s probably what freaked my parents out. Because no way in hell was I going to Warren Wilson College, a hippie school. So I didn’t. I went to a nice little state school, with no football and no fraternities or sororities. And, incidentally, no shortage of hippies.
So it comes as little surprise to my parents that I’ve spent a portion of my summer volunteering at a farm, or that I’ve taken such pleasure in it. My favorite farm chore — for reasons I can’t even begin to explain — turns out to be picking raspberries, though I’m also rather fond of weeding. On my family’s most recent visit, when I returned dirty-kneed from a morning at the farm with red-stained fingers and bramble-scratched arms and a contented smile, I heard my father mutter to my mother, “Maybe we should have let her go to Warren Wilson.” Maybe. Perhaps in some parallel universe they did, and my parallel self became exactly the sort of left-wing radical they’d always feared she would, throwing herself in front of bulldozers and chasing nuclear submarines around in a rubber dinghy with buckets of blood at the ready. Or perhaps — as I believe was my dad’s point — she, too turned out to be a quiet sort of hippie, the kind of girl who believes you’re much more likely to save the world with raspberries than with blood.
Yes, these are the things I think about as I wend my way gingerly through the raspberry thicket, cradling soft red berries in my hands and contemplating the nature of fate. You can see what my parents were up against.
But really, the point here is that the amount of raspberries we’ve had around our house lately is directly proportional to the pleasure I take in picking them. Which is to say there’s been a lot of raspberries. A particularly easy and particularly nice way to enjoy an abundance of raspberries — particularly on a hot Sunday afternoon — is with gin. And champagne. Need I go on? I mean, there’s raspberries and gin and champagne. What more do you need to know, aside from proportions? Oh, fine. The raspberries get muddled with a bit of sage and a splash of sweetened lemon juice to create a lovely fusion of tangy sweet earthiness which is then combined with the crispness of gin and the effervescence of champagne. It’s wonderful. And dangerous. And ridiculously pink. But mostly wonderful.
Raspberry French 75
adapted from Bridget Albert & Mary Barranco’s Market Fresh Mixology
2-4 fresh sage leaves (depending on the size of the leaves and how much you like sage)
5-10 fresh raspberries (same)
1 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ oz. simple syrup
1½ oz. gin
splash of champagne or sparkling wine
In a mixing glass (a Mason jar works just fine) muddle sage leaves, raspberries, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Add gin and a few ice cubes and shake well. Add a splash of champagne and rock gently to combine. Strain into glass to serve.
If, for some reason, you decide to serve this in a ridiculously large 16 oz. glass, you’ll have to make, like, three of these to fill one glass. You’ll also have to cancel everything else on your schedule for the rest of the day because we’re talking three shots of gin and at least a glass of champagne.
I suspect this would also be nice with mint instead of sage, especially if you’re not into sage.