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!
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.
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.
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.
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 teaspoon of bitters. Toss in a few lime wedges and a few leaves of basil if you like.
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.
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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Kentucky Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail (Smooth, not "Smash")
- 1 ½ oz. Kentucky Bourbon
- ¾ oz. Blackberry Simple Syrup
- 1 ½ oz. Club Soda or Sparkling Water
- 2-3 dashes of Bitters
- Squeeze of lime
- Fill a rocks glass about ¾ 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!