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Using agave nectar in place of simple syrup "adds the perfect sweetness to a drink along with complexity of flavor," says Stephanie Ruhe, bar manager at Atlanta hot spot Neo. We love agave for its low glycemic index (meaning it won't send your blood sugar soaring) and because there's a light version that cuts calories. In this drink, which on Neo's menu is titled "Demise of Ms. Beauregarde" after the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory character, fresh berries and lemon juice blend harmoniously with the flavors in the gin. But what makes this cocktail so special, says Ruhe, is the champagne that's poured on top!
3/4 ounce light agave nectar, such as Wholesome Sweeteners, available at Whole Foods or other natural foods stores
1 1/2 ounces gin
3/4 ounce lemon juice
Splash of champagne (about 1 ounce)
In a shaker, muddle* together blueberries and agave. Add the gin and lemon juice, then shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain contents of shaker into a martini glass and then top with champagne. Garnish with 3 blueberries on a cocktail stick.
*A muddler is a bartending tool used to grind ingredients. Purchase online at amazon.com ($9.99) or make do with the end of a wooden spoon.