Deliciously dark and fabulously fruity, our blackberry lemonade is the perfect way to refresh yourself. Plus, it features a splash of rosemary water to sharpen your focus and generate feelings of positivity. What more could you want from a drink?
A brief history of blackberries
Blackberries are a common sight in the British countryside, and a popular ingredient in traditional dishes like crumbles and jams. Likewise, today you can harness the fruit’s vibrant colour and tangy taste in more modern recipes. From blackberry doughnuts and cheesecake to this blackberry lemonade, there’s an option for every occasion! There are actually hundreds of different species of blackberry, and the plant grows wild in not only Europe but also Asia and the Americas. Archaeological evidence indicates that humans have been enjoying blackberries for thousands of years. People have found the fruit at Neolithic sites, and even in the stomach of a preserved body dating back to the iron age.(1) Nestled among thorny brambles, blackberries continue to be a favourite with foragers today. As they ripen, they transform from green to red, purple, and then black – which is when they’re ready to pick. If you’re interested in harvesting some for your blackberry lemonade, July to September is the best time to do so. According to folklore, you shouldn’t pick blackberries after September 29. That’s because this is the day on which the Archangel Michael defeated Lucifer and banished him from heaven. Lucifer landed in hell on top of a thorny blackberry bush and, in his fury, cursed its fruit.(2) When foraging for blackberries, look for those which are plump, firm, and shiny. Oh, and when picking them in spots where people walk dogs, it’s wise to avoid those close to the ground! After harvesting, wash your blackberries thoroughly before tucking in. Store them in a dry container and consume them within a day or two. Alternatively, pop your blackberries in the freezer if you want them to last longer. There’s no need to thaw them before using them in recipes like blackberry lemonade.
The blackberry’s impressive health benefits
In addition to being versatile and delicious, blackberries offer some fantastic benefits to our health. Let’s explore how a blackberry lemonade could support your wellbeing. Blackberries are rich in potent plant compounds called anthocyanins, which are what give the fruit its vivid dark purple hue. Anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, helping to protect our cells from the harm caused by free radicals. This damage is known as oxidative stress, and experts have linked it to numerous chronic health conditions. Studies also show that blackberries have anti-inflammatory properties.(3) This is valuable because research connects chronic inflammation to a multitude of health conditions, from arthritis to type 2 diabetes. Indeed, evidence suggests a diet high in anthocyanins and berries could reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 15-18%.(4) Both the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of blackberries help to protect our cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of heart disease.(5) Studies suggest that anthocyanins work to both lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. The fact that blackberries are high in vitamin C and potassium further boosts their positive influence on the heart. Interestingly, treating yourself to a blackberry lemonade could also be beneficial for your brain. For instance, research indicates that the polyphenols wild blackberries contain could have neuroprotective effects.(6) Studies show that anthocyanins may improve memory, attention, and brain processing speed, and perhaps even slow cognitive decline.(7) Moreover, researchers have discovered that fresh blackberry extracts might help to prevent the spread of cancer.(8) However, further investigation is required to clarify this. Finally, blackberries may additionally be good for your oral health. Evidence suggests that the fruit has both antibacterial and anti-viral properties, so could be effective against certain tooth infections.(9) Nevertheless, we don’t recommend using blackberry lemonade as a mouthwash!
Diving into our rosemary and blackberry lemonade recipe
As well as being good for you, this rosemary and blackberry lemonade is a wonderfully refreshing pick-me-up on warm days. It’s also quick and easy to make, so you’ll be relaxing with a glass in the garden in no time! To begin, pop your blackberries in two glasses and gently press them with a drink muddler until they’re smashed. This is a fantastic way to release the fruit’s juices, intensifying both the colour and flavour of the blackberry lemonade. To make the most of this, use clear glasses rather than coloured ones! And don’t worry if you don't have a muddler – a clean wooden spoon will do the job just as effectively. After that, pour in the honey and lemon juice. To make your blackberry lemonade strictly plant-based, swap the honey for agave nectar or maple syrup. You can also adjust the amount of liquid sweetener you use to suit your tastes. Then it’s time to transform the drink into a blackberry and rosemary lemonade with the addition of rosemary herbal water. This brings a fabulous piney fragrance and flavour to the beverage, plus several health benefits of its own. More on those below! Use a spoon to give the mixture a good stir, and then add the ice cubes to the glasses. Finally, pour the water on top, pop in a straw, and you’re ready to serve! We’ve suggested using filtered water in this blackberry lemonade recipe. However, you can make the drink extra special by choosing sparkling water instead. You should get a deliciously fruity, eye-catching beverage that fades up from rich black to vibrant red. Don’t spend too long admiring it though, as you want to drink it before the ice melts!
Lemons: adding more than just zesty flavour
Using lemon juice in blackberry lemonade gives the drink a greater depth of flavour and bright hint of citrus. But that’s not the only benefit this ingredient brings. Lemons are also rich sources of key nutrients and plant compounds that can enhance our wellbeing. Most famously, lemons are fabulous sources of vitamin C. That’s why historically they were a successful treatment against scurvy in sailors. The majority of us don’t need to worry about scurvy these days! However, vitamin C has plenty of other benefits for our health. These include supporting the immune system and improving the condition of our skin.(10) In addition, the combination of vitamin C and citric acid in lemons has an interesting advantage. It helps us to absorb iron from plant sources more effectively, reducing the risk of developing anaemia. Lemons could also have a positive influence on our cardiovascular health. Some of the citrus flavonoids they contain – such as hesperidin and naringenin – can improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.(11) This helps to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Such potent plant compounds may additionally be useful in preventing obesity.(12) In fact, consuming lemon in this rosemary and blackberry lemonade could have extra benefits in this regard. That’s because research suggests drinking water can temporarily increase the number of calories you burn.(13) Perhaps unsurprisingly given its sunny associations, the scent of lemon can boost our mood. It could help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, leaving you feeling refreshed and relaxed.(14) That makes a blackberry lemonade the perfect drink for days when you have an important meeting, project or appointment. And the rosemary water we’ve included means this is even more true, as you’ll see below.
Rosemary water: taking your blackberry lemonade to the next level
In our opinion, it’s the rosemary water that elevates this blackberry lemonade to new heights. It adds a characteristic herbal taste enriched with woody undertones, which perfectly complements the tang of the blackberries. Plus, it offers a wealth of potential benefits for your wellbeing. For example, similar to lemon, inhaling the scent of rosemary can do wonders for your mood. Studies indicate that it could generate confidence and boost positivity, helping you to feel fresh and alert.(15) It might even be an effective way to ease feelings of burnout. As such, treating yourself to a rosemary lemonade is a great choice when you want to add a little cheer to your day. Moreover, research has found that smelling rosemary may also improve your cognitive performance, enhancing functions like concentration and memory.(16) This could be due to the neuroprotective properties of certain flavonoids in rosemary water, such as rosmarinic acid and apigenin. This makes rosemary lemonade recipes ideal when you’re working from home.
Rosemary water for hair growth
One reason that rosemary water is becoming increasingly popular is thanks to its potential to encourage hair growth.(17) The plant is rich in potent polyphenolic compounds such as carnosic acid an