In creating drinks without the kick of alcoholic beverages, finding alternate ingredients to add the interest becomes part of the fun and challenge for mixologists.
Black pepper syrup is an intriguing idea – sweet but with a heat and a hint of acidy and a brilliant flavour complex. There are many recipes online for this syrup, generally recommending a combination of cracked and whole peppercorns along with water and sugar. The cracked peppercorns deliver more heat, while the whole fruit provides a more mellow and rich flavour complex. In drink mixing this syrup often is paired with grapefruit, citrus and/or berries, are added to martinis for added heat.
(If you are interested in the recipe for the syrup I will be using check my blog here where I use it in a snake venom shooter I created over halloween.)
When looking up virgin drinks, I found two that paired blackberries with peppercorn syrup and added lemon to round out the flavours. Our family tested both.
Black and Blue Lemonade
This first recipe from FoodRepublic has all the makings of a great summer drink. The combination of black pepper syrup, fresh berries, lemons and a hint of basil for additional interest are all seasonal —especially up north — and more likely to be found in the summer months. The drink calls for muddling fresh basil, blackberries in the syrup and adding to a combination of 2 parts lemon juice to 1 part soda water. This drink is a very fresh and bright tasting with a serious kick from the lemons and peppercorns. You can find the recipe here.
Black Pepper Lemonade
Taste: 4/5 preferred the non fizzy drink
Simplicity: 4/4 for the Black Pepper Lemonade which was simpler to create
Ingredient finding: 3/5 Blackberries (fresh and frozen) and basil are not commonly found all year locally.