One of the greatest joys of summertime is upon us… blackberry season! And with all that juicy, blackberry goodness, summer is also a great time for garden herbs. Depending on where you live, sage can be more of a fall/winter herb, but here in North Idaho, our sage goes strong all summer long.

A humble member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family, sage (aka Salvia officinalis) is probably best known as a common culinary herb that pairs especially well with poultry and pork dishes. Medicinally, sage leaf is useful as a memory enhancer, appetite stimulant, digestive aid and has some impressive anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. In fact, in addition to its other talents, sage also has a long history as a nitrate-free preserving agent, reducing oxidative damage in meats and cheeses. Who knew??

In this recipe for a blackberry-sage spritzer, the sweet tartness of ripe berries is beautifully balanced by the warm earthiness of fresh sage, creating a refreshing and complex drink that’s a bit more sophisticated than your average spritzer. ??