Summer is almost over but you still have time to indulge in the late summer fruits and vegetables. The farmer’s market will be filled with fruits like peaches, nectarines, blueberries, blackberries and vegetables like zucchini and eggplant. The nights are getting cooler. The kids are in bed. And here is a drink and a snack that you and your loved one can share sitting on the patio enjoying the cooler end of the summer nights.

Blackberry Bramble Cocktail

The Bramble is a drink invented by Dick Bradsell of Fred’s Club in London, circa 1984. It combines gin, sugar, lemon juice and blackberry liqueur in a simple, sippable drink. With the help of this recipe from Food 52 we are kicking it up a notch with fresh summer berries.

Ingredients:

Berries

  • 2 cups blackberries/raspberries/blueberries
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves

Bramble

  • 6 ounces gin
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 ounces simple syrup
  • 2-4 spoonfuls of macerated berries
  • Club soda or prosecco, to top it off

Directions:

  1. Place your berries in a small pot and add in the sugar, water, cinnamon, and cloves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer for 8 minutes, until the berries have softened and the sugar has dissolved.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, combine your gin, lemon juice, and syrup. You can use some of the syrup from the berries, if you want a really fruity drink, or you can just use regular simple syrup.
  3. Add ice to the top and shake well, for at least 10 seconds. Use a strainer to pour the cocktail into two ice filled glasses.
  4. Drop a spoonful or two of berries into the drink, add the club soda and add a straw or stirrer.

You will have extra and they will keep well in their syrup for up to a week.  Make sure you take the cinnamon and cloves out!  To make plain simple syrup, just boil 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water until the sugar dissolves.

Fried Mozzarella, Basil, and Nectarine Stacks

I found this delicious recipe from Half Baked Harvest and had to share it with you. It’s the perfect blend of fresh and fruity with the gooey goodness of fried mozzarella cheese. Seriously, you have to try this!

Ingredients

  • 4 large nectarines or peaches, sliced into rounds
  • 12 large basil leaves
  • 12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 thick round slices
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

 Balsamic Glaze

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)

Directions

  1. Add vinegar and brown sugar, if using, to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until liquid reduces by about half and is slightly syrupy.
  2. Remove from heat, pour vinegar in a bowl or glass to pour, and set aside to cool and thicken.
  3. In a large bowl, combine panko, flour, parmesan, salt, pepper and cayenne, mixing thoroughly to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
  5. Take each slice of fresh mozzarella and coat it in the beaten egg, then dredge it through the bread crumb mix, pressing on both sides to adhere. Repeat with the remaining slices.
  6. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and sear both sides of the nectarines for 1 to minutes until just warmed, but still somewhat firm. Keep the nectarines warm.
  7. Add the remaining olive oil to the skillet and when hot, fry the coated mozzarella, turning carefully once or twice, until golden and cheese starts to melt but still retains its shape, about 1 minute on each side. Drain on paper towels.
  8. To assemble, place one nectarine on a plate, top with 1 slice of fried mozzarella and then a basil leaf. Repeat the layer one more time and finish with a nectarine. Garish with basil and freshly grated pepper. Drizzle on the balsamic glaze.

Cool nights spent on the porch with a loved one, eating and drinking foods made with fruits. What better time could you have?