I was unbelievably excited when I visited a farmers’ market the other day and saw punnets of mulberries. They have such a short season, it’s just not something you see. I snapped up two punnets. Those little purple babies were burning a hole in my pocket as I rushed home to try them. How would I use them? Whilst considering their fate, I made a quick Mulberry Cocktail to assist in contemplation.
A Unpotted History
Despite dating back to ancient civilisations in Greece, Rome and China, it’s very difficult to identify the true origins of the mulberry. It is lost in the mists of time. What is evident is that the silk industry in China and the expansion of the Silk Road through the Asia, the Middle East and Europe helped to spread the mulberry far and wide. They are particularly prevalent as both a fresh and dried ingredient in Persian cuisine including sherbets, cakes, teas and eaten as a dried snack. Mulberries can be a very long-lived tree, with one in the Gainsborough Museum in Suffolk being over 300 years old. Shakespeare grew mulberries and mentions them several times in his plays, the most famous being when the Pyramus and Thisby plan to meet under the mulberry tree in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.
Despite their popularity, mulberries are delicate to pick and nearly impossible to transport which is why they are not grown commercially in Australia. That’s why I was so thrilled to find those punnets of mulberries. A true labour of love for the person who picked them. Cheers to you mulberry farmer!
Mulberry Smash Cocktail
This mulberry cocktail is like a spring afternoon.
Floral scented and fizzing with the promise of the summer to come.
- 2 x mulberries (or substitute blackberries)
- 2 x tspns icing (confectioner’s) sugar
- 10ml limoncello
- 20ml vanilla or plain vodka
- soda water
- garnish – ice, lemon zest curls, mint leaves
- Muddle mulberries and icing sugar in the bottom of a glass until sugar is dissolved. The resulting seeds and pulp in this Mulberry Cocktail are very soft and easy to drink.
- Add limoncello and vodka.
- Add ice and top with soda water. Garnish with a curl of lemon zest and mint leaf.
= 1 standard drink (Australia)