5-Minute Blackberry Jam, and the Drink It Belongs In

September  4, 2013

When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.

Today: The only cocktail you'll ever make with leftovers you can spread on toast.  

Blackberry Martini from Food52

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It all starts when my brother offers to float a few drops of olive oil on top of my martini. 

Why should I let you do that to my drink?

For years, my brother has been trying to infect my perfect cocktail with all manner of produce. I’ve told him numerous times to get the heck away from my gin with his peach purée. His cucumbers. His tangerines. 

Just trust me.

Why should I trust you?

Because I’m your brother.

I’m trying not to be such a control freak.

Just this once.

The immiscible pairing of alcohol and oil produces glistening yellow-green circles that bumper-car about on the gin’s surface. I am delighted. And besides a subtle fruitiness and a small oil-slick in my mouth, it still tastes like my beloved martini.

On my brother’s next visit, I am out of martini olives. He proposes capers as an alternative garnish. Lovely. Dirty. Different. (It’s true. We drink together a lot. We have young children. We are overwhelmed.)

Next up, caperberries -- in they go. Pickled jalapeños come after that. Then some cocktail onions. Some plums.

My gin world is cracked wide open. I find myself making and ordering gimlets, Aviations, Vespers, Rickeys, fizzes, and French 75s.

Join me. Let go. Muck up your gin. It won’t hurt.

How to Make Blackberry Martinis

It has been a particularly good year for blackberries. I’ve put them in everything from pies to tarts to galettes to salads, so it was only a matter of time before they ended up in my gin. I made a few versions on my own and they weren’t quite right, so I convinced my brother to help me develop a recipe. This is what we came up with. And don’t worry if the blackberries are a bit tart -- shocking them in hot sugar will perk them right on up.

For the Blackberry Jam:

Makes about 1/2 cup 

2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup blackberries 

For the Martini:

Serves 1

2 ounces gin (use a gin that's not perfumey or intense, like Beefeater or Tanqueray)
1/4 ounce Grand Marnier (or 1/2 ounce if you want a sweeter drink)
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon blackberry jam (or a bit less if you want a tarter drink)
3 blackberries
1 basil leaf

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Phyllis Grant  

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • monsan
  • Luvtocook
  • Shirley Joyner
    Shirley Joyner
  • Meagan Warncke
    Meagan Warncke
  • Christina @ Christina's Cucina
    Christina @ Christina's Cucina
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.


monsan September 11, 2013
hate to be a grouch (although I am!) but just because you put anything in a martini glass doesn't make it a martini . . .a martini is gin, a wisp of vermouth and, my preference, a lemon twist although two olives is also quite acceptable.
Phyllis G. September 11, 2013
ha! so true. and just so you know, my brother very clearly stated while we were developing this recipe that this was not a martini. but it was too late. i had been talking about my Blackberry Martini for weeks and the name stuck! a lemon twist in a martini sounds lovely. i'll try that tonight.
Christina @. September 11, 2013
You are correct, but I think the general consensus is that "anything in a martini glass" is now a "martini" (in quotes). It's exactly the same as everyone calling a Cottage Pie, "Shepherd's Pie", because most people don't know what a Cottage Pie is. However, a Shepherd's Pie is made with lamb, whilst a Cottage Pie is made with beef.
Luvtocook September 11, 2013
Once upon a time there was a restaurant in St. Louis, MO, (The Red Brick) that served their martinis with a pickled baby brussels sprout. Delicious!
Phyllis G. September 11, 2013
pickled baby brussels sprout. genius!
Shirley J. September 11, 2013
I'm going to try this one this weekend.....
Meagan W. September 11, 2013
That sounds A-MAZING! :)
Christina @. September 11, 2013
I love, love, love that first photo!! I am not a gin martini girl, but switch the gin out for vodka and I'm in! In fact, my very favorite is a Lemon Drop which my neighbor had me try years ago. I now think I need to find blackberries (or even raspberries) to make your jam and "infect" my Lemon Drops! ;)
saltandserenity September 7, 2013
There is nothing better than drinking with your siblings!!
EB September 5, 2013
I am now headed out to hunt for blackberries.....
Not sure what vermouth you like for a "clean" martini, but give Vaya Extra Dry a try (made by Quady). It's different. Best with a London Dry.
Phyllis G. September 5, 2013
thanks. i'll check out that vermouth.
Katie S. September 4, 2013
I don't even like martinis, but may develop a taste for them now
Phyllis G. September 5, 2013
katie. you don't like martinis? we need to change that.
Kenzi W. September 4, 2013
Would it be poor form to eat jam-slathered toast while I sip this tonight?
Phyllis G. September 5, 2013
perfect form.
Tomina September 4, 2013
Shut the front door! This sounds out of this world delicious!
Phyllis G. September 5, 2013
ha! shut the front door. i love that expression. and yes. it is a delicious drink. especially after my brother helped me work on the recipe.