This week's drink is a special creation from Wexler's bar manager Kate Bolton, to be featured at CUESA's "Swing into Spring" event next Wednesday. The event is focusing on gin-based, seasonal, farmers' market cocktails, and Kate has created something using blackberries and a signature tool in Wexler's kitchen: the smoker. Also, she employs an ingredient not seen much in the beverage sphere: fresh fennel. It's a bright, original, very seasonal sipper which you can try if you drop by the Ferry Building next Wednesday night (get tickets first here).

The Plaza Cocktail

2 oz Right Gin
1/2 oz smoked blackberry balsamic gastrique*
3/4 oz fennel juice (simply the pure juice of fennel bulbs, nothing added)
1/2 oz simple syrup
4 blackberries

Muddle blackberries with the gastrique and fennel juice. Add gin and simple syrup. Add ice and shake hard. Double strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with fennel fronds and (edible) wild radish blossoms.

*Smoked blackberry balsamic gastrique - From Kate: "I smoked blackberries in our in-house smoker at Wexler's (approximately 30 minutes). The gastrique is two parts blackberries to one part balsamic vinegar and one part brown sugar. Cook it all at a low simmer until the berries begin to fall apart (approx. 10 minutes)."