The flavors of blackberry and bourbon shine in this Kentucky Promise, a blackberry bourbon batch cocktail recipe that was a wedding gift created for friends. It’s close to an old fashioned, but a little sweeter, and with a strong blackberry sweetness to it from the whiskey and the syrup. To keep the sweetness under wraps, add a little Averna Amaro as a bittering agent to balance it out. It can be served neat (up) or on the rocks.
This week I’m posting some of the cocktails included in in “Which Fork Do I Use with my Bourbon?” a new book by Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler on entertaining with bourbon. If you’ve spent time perusing my cocktail recipes, you know I’m a sucker for the combination of blackberry and bourbon in cocktails. I created and batched a couple of bottles of this cocktail as a post-wedding celebration gift for friends of mine who came to Louisville to be married.
The theme of the cocktail was the promise of a wedding: new beginnings, vows, the sweetness in a new life together. And I created this for a couple who enjoy bourbon, but want it to blend beautifully with other flavors in a balanced and approachable way. It’s an elegant cocktail to batch and give as a gift, or to serve to guests who want approachable, enjoyable bourbon cocktails.
I chose Angel’s Envy because it was one of their favorites, and one they could easily find at home in Connecticut. If I’m making it at home I use a higher proof bourbon, but that does push up the overall ABV of the cocktail. I used blackberries from my backyard, and added a little fresh mint for garnish so they could make the cocktail fancy as they continued their celebration the day after with friends in town. So I gave them a little of Louisville to enjoy and take back home with them – along with the recipe to make their own batches.
If you don’t have access to Starlight’s Blackberry Whiskey, a lovely blackberry liqueur will work, but make sure you test the amount of amaro you add if you use another blackberry whiskey. They can vary widely in sweetness and you might have to increase the amaro a bit to keep the sweetness under wraps (or decrease the amount of blackberry simple).
As always, a taste test of this blackberry bourbon batch cocktail, or any batched cocktail before serving is essential. You can use the barspoon to drop a small bit on the back of your hand or use a disposable straw to take a small sample of one of the cocktails before serving.
A Kentucky Promise – Single
- 1 ½ oz Angel’s Envy Bourbon
- 1 oz Starlight Blackberry-Whiskey
- ½ oz Averna Amaro
- ½ oz blackberry simple syrup
- Garnish: fresh blackberry mint or basil leaf
- Combine ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into an ice-filled old fashioned glass. Garnish with a blackberry, mint or basil leaf.
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups frozen blackberries
- 1/4 cup water
Batched Kentucky Promise – Serves 8-10
- 1 ½ cups Angel’s Envy Bourbon
- 1 cup Starlight Blackberry Whiskey
- ½ cup Averna Amaro
- ½ cup blackberry simple syrup see above recipe
- ½ to ¾ cup water
- Garnish: fresh blackberry, mint or basil leaf
- Combine whiskies, amaro, simple syrup and water in a large container and stir until well-combined. Chill in the fridge overnight or for several hours before serving. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes just before serving to get the cocktail well-chilled. Keep in an ice bucket if you’re having guests serve themselves to make sure it stays chilled throughout the party. This can be served either neat in a coupe or martini glass, or in a rocks glass over ice. Fresh basil or fresh mint as a garnish will make the drink exceptional. If serving in a coupe or martini glass, use a single spanked mint or basil leaf. If serving in a rocks glass over ice, a small sprig of mint or basil dresses up the cocktail nicely.