I just finished cleaning my kitchen after what will go down as the Blackberry Martini Disaster of 2011, which rivaled the Christmas Cookie Sprinkle Incident of 2007 and the Cornmeal Kerfuffle of 2008.
It started innocently enough. I tried two excellent blackberry martinis while dining out last weekend and with a surplus of the purply-black berries of my own this weekend, I thought I might try and make one myself. Big mistake.
I am firstly a beer drinker and then a wine drinker and only occasionally a cocktail drinker. Rarer still a cocktail maker (my sister is the one-time licensed bartender). This may explain what happened next.
I found a recipe online and while I was missing a couple of the suggested mixers, I had the basics: blackberries, lemon juice, sugar, water and vodka. So, I set about making the simple syrup and pureeing some blackberries.
After the simple syrup had a chance to chill in the fridge, I added the ice and the rest of the ingredients into one of my cocktail shakers. I pulled out a martini glass and shook the shaker vigorously for the prescribed 10 seconds.
That’s when things started to go wrong.
As I tried to pour the mixture into the waiting glass, only about an ounce came out of the shaker. The rest was stuck because the seeds in the blackberry puree had clogged the shaker’s strainer. I started to pry the strainer lid off of the shaker, but it wouldn’t budge. If I held the shaker over the glass and shook it though, more liquid seeped through.
But then the strainer lid popped off the shaker and landed in the 1/3-full martini glass sending half of the liquid in the glass onto the counter and what was left in the shaker in a spray across me and the kitchen floor.
There are two lucky things that happened though: 1) I was wearing a purple shirt (alas, my shorts were not purple); 2) the martini glass miraculously did not break.
So, I set about cleaning myself and the kitchen. After that was done, I tried to salvage what was left of the martini by pouring it into a handheld strainer over another martini glass. That didn’t end well either. The second strainer also clogged and the liquid ran down onto counter. I ended up with about half of a martini by the time all was said and done.
I cleaned up the secondary spill and then tried a sip.
It tasted like cough syrup. And not Dimetapp, which it resembled in color and which would have been fine as I was slightly addicted to that taste as an allergic adolescent. No, this was more reminiscent of Robitussin.
And so now, after washing the dishes, I am sipping a glass of white wine. I’ll leave the martini-making to the pros next time.