A Refreshing Blackberry Cocktail with Plenty of Bourbon.
This is such a solid end-of-summer cocktail to drink to enjoy in the evenings when the sun starts to set before 8:30 pm. Blackberries are at their best this time of year, and seasonal fruit is always fun to add to cocktails. But really, it’s such a solid cocktail to make at home any time of the year. I use a homemade ginger simple syrup for this drink, which makes it even more special and delicious.
What is a Blackberry Bourbon Smash?
This drink is such a classic cocktail. A “smash” is comprised of seasonal fruit, mint, citrus, and a spirit of your choice. If you’ve ever had a mint julep, (which is a simple cocktail consisting of just bourbon, sugar, and mint), the smash is like the julep’s close relative. But a smash cocktail steps it up a notch with a hit of fresh fruit and citrus, which makes it delicious in every way.
A Blackberry Bourbon Smash may sound like a fruity cocktail, but it has a good kick of booze in it. The juicy blackberries are an awesome flavor companion with bourbon, and the other flavors combined with them make this one seriously delicious cocktail. You don’t need to save this one for special occasions; they’re one of my favorite cocktails during blackberry season, and a classic choice for any night of the week!
How was the Smash Cocktail Created?
According to Imbibe Magazine (which I fully trust), one of the earliest examples of a smash cocktail appears in How to Mix Drinks, which was the first American bartenders’ guide written by Jerry Thomas in 1862. Jerry started bartending in NYC in the 1850s, and made a name for himself by popularizing a ton of cocktails that we still drink today. He’s considered by some to be the father of mixology, or the godfather of flair bartending, and the founding father of modern bartending. Really, he started the movement that made delicious cocktails a part of everyday American life. *thank you, Jerry*
Bourbon smashes tend to be the most popular smash cocktail; bourbon (or whiskey) is actually a great companion for a variety of citrus juices (lemon juice, lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice are all great pairings), fresh herbs, and fresh berries.
What do I need to make a Blackberry Bourbon Smash?
Not much! Here’s a list of ingredients:
- Fresh Blackberries
- Fresh Mint
- Ginger Simple Syrup
- Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
- Sparkling Water (Club Soda) OR Ginger Beer
Don’t let the ginger simple syrup part turn you off! It’s VERY easy to make, and it will keep in your refrigerator for up to a month.
How to Make a Blackberry Bourbon Smash:
- Muddle the blackberries, mint, and ginger simple syrup together in the bottom of a cocktail shaker.
- Pour in the orange juice and bourbon, then fill the cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
- Secure the lid and shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds.
- Fill two cocktail glasses with crushed ice. Strain the drink through a fine mesh strainer over the ice, dividing it between the glasses.
- Top the glasses with a splash of club soda or ginger beer and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
How to make Ginger Simple Syrup:
Peel the skin off or a 3 inch piece of ginger, then chop it into small cubes. Heat equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan (over low heat) until the sugar is dissolved. (I used 1/2 cup of each). Stir in the freshly chopped ginger, then remove the pan from the heat. Let the ginger steep for 30 minutes, upwards of an hour. Discard the ginger, and keep the simple syrup in an airtight container for more cocktails!
Alternatively, you can use regular simple syrup or agave syrup, but definitely swap the club soda for ginger beer.
My Favorite Bourbon for Cocktails:
I love to use Buffalo Trace or Four Roses if we are sticking with bourbon. If you like rye, I suggest Templeton Rye! If you’re in Kansas City and looking for a good recommendation on whiskey, I’ve made a couple of these with West Bottoms Whiskey and it’s great. (Those styles of bourbon / whiskey are all over the place, so use your favorite bourbon or whiskey and you’ll love this Blackberry Bourbon Smash!) You don’t need a super high quality bourbon when making cocktails, but you also don’t want the bottom shelf stuff.
More Cocktails with Fruit:
I’m all about the cocktails with fresh fruit flavors on a hot summer day. They’re refreshing, easy, and full of flavor. Some other really good fruity cocktails you can check out are:
- grilled pineapple and jalapeño margaritas
- blueberry cilantro margaritas
- grilled peach + bourbon cocktail
- bourbon, blackberry, thyme and lemon cocktail
- blackberry margaritas
- cucumber mojitos
You are more than welcome to click here for a list of all of the cocktails on my blog! Each recipe is for one or two cocktails, so they’re definitely small batch recipes.
Mark and I have made Juleps for all of our friends at our annual Derby party over the last seven years, and we always use tiny crushed ice for them. (Think Sonic ice, if you’re familiar.) So that’s the ice we use for this smash, too!
Also, if you try it and love it, I would so appreciate a comment and star rating below! You can also tag #aflavorjournal on Instagram if you post a photo. 🙂 If you have any questions at all, feel free to email me so I can help!
blackberry bourbon smash
- 15 blackberries
- 10 large mint leaves
- 1 1/2 ounces ginger simple syrup see notes!
- 2 ounces freshly squeezed orange juice
- 4 ounces bourbon
- 4 ounces club soda OR ginger beer (optional)
- Muddle the blackberries, mint, and simple syrup together in a large cocktail shaker.
- Pour in the orange juice and bourbon, then fill with ice. Seal tightly, and shake for 30 seconds.
- Fill two cocktail glasses with crushed ice. Strain the drink, dividing it between the glasses.
- If you prefer some bubbles and a larger cocktail, pour two ounces of club soda or ginger beer into each glass.
- Garnish with a blackberry and mint leaf, and enjoy!
- Peel then chop a 3" piece of fresh ginger into small cubes.
- Heat equal parts water and sugar in a small sauce pan. (Use 1/2 cup of each.) Stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir in ginger, remove from heat.
- Let the ginger steep for 30 minutes to an hour. Discard ginger.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a month in the refrigerator.
NO GINGER? ::
- Use 1 1/2 ounces of regular simple syrup OR 1 tablespoon of sugar instead of the ginger simple syrup.
- Substitute honey or agave for simple syrup!