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blackberry basil lemonade granita.

I made a series of granitas for the 2018 July issue of Feast Magazine.

 

Ice cream, Popsicles and snow cones are all essential summer treats, yet the most refreshing and easy-to-assemble might be a granita. The Italian dessert is made by puréeing ingredients (usually fresh fruit, herbs and spices) in a blender until smooth, and then evenly spreading it across a sheet pan before freezing, stirring and then freezing it again. The final result is coarse – or grainy, thus the name – ice crystals. If you’re looking for something stronger to enjoy poolside, you can easily add a shot of your favorite wine or spirit before the initial freeze.

In the following pages we're sharing 10 recipes – five non-boozy granitas, plus five modifications to those base recipes for cocktail versions. These recipes make the most of fresh summer produce, including strawberries, peaches and blackberries, resulting in refreshing frozen treats to cool down hot summer days.

 

My go-to drink for summer gatherings is homemade blackberry lemonade. For blackberry lemonade cocktails, I recommend vodka; don’t fret that your granita cocktail won’t freeze, though, even if the bottle of vodka in your freezer never has. Because the vodka is mixed with other liquids, it will freeze after a few hours. If you prefer, the same amount of gin works well, too.

 

Before you get started

Make sure you have a large metal baking pan (a 13-by-9-inch pan is ideal) to ensure your granita freezes quickly and evenly. If you forget to stir and scrape the granita, let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes to slightly thaw, and then mix and repeat the preparation process.

 

 

Serves | 4 |

 

Granita

  • 6 cups fresh blackberries

  • 2¼ cups lemonade, divided

  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

  • 5 to 7 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish

Cocktail

  • 6 cups fresh blackberries

  • 1½ cups lemonade, divided

  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar

  • 5 to 7 large basil leaves, plus more for garnish

  • ¾ cup vodka

Granita: Non-alcoholic

1. In the bowl of a blender, purée berries. Strain berries through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds; this will yield about 2 cups of liquid. Set aside.

2. In a large glass measuring cup, add ¼ cup lemonade and sugar and muddle in basil leaves; let sit for a few minutes before straining and discarding basil. Add remaining lemonade to cup and stir. In a large glass bowl, combine blackberry liquid with lemonade and stir.

3. Spread across a 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan and cover with aluminum foil; transfer to freezer.

4. Using the back of a fork, scrape and stir every 30 minutes for at least 2 hours and 30 minutes.

5. Garnish with remaining basil leaves and serve.

 

Granita: Cocktail

1. In the bowl of a blender, purée berries. Strain berries through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds; this will yield about 2 cups of liquid. Set aside.

2. In a large glass measuring cup, add ¼ cup lemonade and sugar then muddle in basil leaves; let sit for a few minutes before straining and discarding basil. Add remaining lemonade to cup and stir. In a large glass bowl, combine blackberry liquid with lemonade and vodka and stir.

3. Spread across a 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan and cover with aluminum foil; transfer to freezer.

4. Using the back of a fork, scrape and stir every 30 minutes for at least 3 hours.

5. Garnish with remaining basil leaves and serve.

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