Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail (Smooth, not “Smash”)

Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail unstirred after pour, in old fashioned glass with ice, round lime and blackberry with basil leaf garnish and bourbon bottle in background with another glass and blackberry simple syrup
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Posted On: April 20, 2023
Last updated: October 13th, 2023

This cocktail is a homage to my current home state of Kentucky.  I thought what better way to celebrate Kentucky, than by bringing Kentucky’s official fruit (Blackberry) and it’s “spirit” (Bourbon) together for this smooth Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail.  Not only is this concoction a great addition to any summer party, it’s also easy enough for first-time mixologists to make.  So get ready to kick off your summer with this delicious not too sweet indulgence. Cheers!

KY bourbon cocktails with blackberries around and pink rose, garnished with lime and blackberries on cocktail pick
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Is this a Blackberry Bourbon Smash?

No, it’s similar, but there’s no smashing involved, unless you’re talking about making the Blackberry Simple Syrup.  I wanted a smooth cocktail than can be easily made and enjoyed in a rocks glass that’s not too sweet.  A whiskey smash is made by with muddled blackberries, sugar and some fresh mint (sometimes basil leaves).  There are other variations with ginger beer or orange juice as well.  I wanted to keep this cocktail smooth and simple since some people don’t like to eat their drink as I sometimes don’t. In this recipe the blackberry flavor is from the simple syrup instead of muddling blackberries. It’s a simple cocktail you could put together quickly with minimal ingredients and a pre-made blackberry syrup. 

Side close up view of bourbon cocktail after being mixed in rocks glass with lime circle and blackberries, KY Derby glass to left side and another glass with cocktail to the right, blackberry simple syrup in background with four roses small batch bourbon bottle
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How to Make a Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail

First, you have to make the Blackberry Simple Syrup.  There are no chewy blackberries in the actual drink. Grab a rocks or old-fashioned glass, add your ice cubes, then the bourbon, simple syrup and top off with club soda or sparkling water. Add 2-3 dashes of bitters and a squeeze of lime. It’s that simple and of so pretty! If you prefer a less strong drink, you can add more club soda, but be sure to grab a high ball glass instead. You can also make it a double if you like in a highball.

3 glasses of bourbon cocktails with blackberry in Kentucky Derby 149 old fashioned glasses, garnished with miles and blackberries
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Celebrate Derby Day in Style with this Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail!

Different Ways to Serve this Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail

As with any cocktail, I believe the drinker should have a say in how they like to enjoy the beverage.  When I created this cocktail, I wanted an easy cocktail recipe anyone could make, with a subtle level of sweetness that most anyone can enjoy.  I didn’t want a super fruity cocktail, but a delicious cocktail that feels like a classic cocktail, but elevated.  

Glass Pitcher of Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon cocktail for a party with ice filled glasses with garnish and blackberry syrup in mason jar to the right
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Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail as a Party Punch!

Need a Party Punch?

Whether you’re throwing a Derby Day Party or just needing an attractive and delicious party punch on a hot summer day, this cocktail is for you!  Grab a large pitcher and make up a big batch of this cocktail with your favorite bourbon that’s feasible.  For 6 cups of pretty pinkish boozy punch: add 2.25 cups of Bourbon, 1.25 cups Blackberry Simple Syrup (almost the entire amount made with my recipe), About 2.5 cups Club Soda (add more if you don’t want people to booze up too fast) and about 2 tsp of bitters.  Toss in a few lime wedges and a few leaves of basil if you like.

Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail in rocks glass with lime circle, blackberries and basil on pick atop with bitters to the left, pink rose on the right and four roses bourbon behind with another cocktail behind and green fluffy flowers in background
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Cocktail Garnishes

Fresh Blackberries– So, even though I don’t muddle these into the drink, fresh berries as a garnish are always a great way to elevate a drink.  Try to find some really plump, juicy blackberries.

Fresh Lime– Lime also pairs really well with blackberries.  If you don’t have lime, you can absolutely use fresh lemon wedges.  If you don’t have either, add a couple drops of lemon juice.  Instead of lime wedges, I like the look of thin lime circles with a slit of the side to place atop the rim. 

Fresh Basil Leaves– I like the idea of basil leaves in this cocktail because it also is prevalent and grows quite well in Kentucky.  Basil has a subtle sweetness that goes really well with blackberries.

KY Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail Ingredients on wooden counter: Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Club Soda, Blackberry simple syrup, Bitters and Lime with basil leaves
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Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail Ingredients

I wanted a smooth cocktail featuring KY Bourbon and Blackberries. Fresh, sweet Blackberries are prevalent in KY because they like the soil and resistant to frost. That is why they are featured in this cocktail.

Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey– I know that Bourbon does not need to be made in KY, but since this cocktail has “Kentucky” in the name, that’s just my bias recommendation. Wink… All in all, just try to use a high-quality bourbon since it’s the dominant ingredient in the cocktail.  My husband usually has Four Roses on hand as his go to bourbon, so I found it appropriate to use it here.  It’s also readily available nationwide.  Some other great options that won’t break the bank are: Buffalo Trace, Elijah Craig Small Batch, .

Bulleit Bulleit, Larceny and Woodford Reserve.  We also really like some bourbons from our very local distilleries like New Riff and Boone County Distillery, but they might only be available in specialty liqueur stores.

Blackberry Simple Syrup– This is also a key ingredient so it’s a an important component to add just a bit of sweetness.  I DO NOT use blackberry liqueur for this, but if you do, please remember it will be stronger alcohol-wise. 

Club Soda– If you don’t have club soda, you can use sparkling mineral water.  I use whichever I have. 

Squeeze of Lime– If you don’t have lime some fresh lemon juice would be great as well! 

Bitters This is a matter of preference.  I like orange bitters and my husband likes Aromatic bitters.  

Love this Cocktail? Let me know below in the comments or on Social Media @WholeMadeLiving

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KY bourbon cocktails with blackberries around and pink rose, garnished with lime and blackberries on cocktail pick
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Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail (Smooth, not "Smash")

This recipe makes one rocks or old-fashioned sized drink.  If you don't want it as strong, make it in a high ball (tall) glass so that you can add a bit more soda water.  This cocktail is the perfect way wind down on a long hot summer day.  Or if you're looking to impress, surprise a loved one with this gorgeous cool cocktail with your homemade blackberry simple syrup. 
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Cocktail
Calories 167 kcal



  • 1 1/2 oz. Kentucky Bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Blackberry Simple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. Club Soda or Sparkling Water
  • 2-3 dashes of Bitters
  • Squeeze of lime


  • Fill a rocks glass about 3/4 full with ice.
  • Add bourbon, blackberry simple syrup, then top with just a bit of club soda.
  • Add 2-3 dashes of bitters
  • Add a squeeze of lime and garnish if you like and enjoy!


Want to make a Party Punch?
In a Glass Pitcher:
2.25 cups of Bourbon,
1.25 cups Blackberry Simple Syrup (almost the entire amount made with my recipe),
About 2.5 cups Club Soda (add more if you don't want people to booze up too fast)
about 2 tsp of bitters.  
Toss in a few lime wedges and a few leaves of basil. 

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.


Serving: 1drinkCalories: 167kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.01gSodium: 22mgPotassium: 22mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Blackberry, Bourbon, Cocktail, Derby Day, Fathers Day, Kentucky, Summer Cocktail
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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