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Blackberry Basil Old Fashioned

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blackberry old fashioned cocktail in a rocks glass with ice and basil and blackberries
Blackberry Basil Old Fashioned

Blackberry syrup in whiskey cocktails can be a revelation, and the combination of that with fresh herbs makes this Blackberry Basil Old Fashioned a summer hit.

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My basil bush is going crazy in the garden – it’s one of the few things not decimated by the heat lately. I love strolling past and just brushing the leaves with my hands to pick up their scent. It’s not far from the blackberry bush, so I wondered how the two would play together.

Basil is savory, but it pairs very well with berries. With blackberries it’s a wonderful match that gives a lot of aromatic depth to the drink without overloading it with bitters.

In this case, the blackberry simple syrup is from a friend of mine whose jam didn’t set properly so she was left with a canned syrup which I knew would be amazing in cocktails. Blackberry old fashioneds by themselves are a wonderful thing. But adding the basil takes it to the next level.

blackberry old fashioned cocktail in a rocks glass with ice and basil and blackberries
Blackberry Basil Old Fashioned

I’m introducing the basil to the cocktail in two ways – 1) rubbing fresh basil leaves on the inside of the glass and rim to make sure the aromatics of the herb are detectable before you take your first sip and 2) using a basil tincture I made a few weeks ago to add the flavor of basil to the drink without overpowering the other elements.

Another thing I love about using blackberry syrup is the gorgeous, rich color it imparts to the cocktail. A lot of ingredients can’t overcome whiskey’s natural color, but blackberry syrup gives that deep purple/fuscia color that can’t be beat for a beautiful cocktail.

For bitters, I did add cherry bark vanilla bitters from Bittercube – my favorite vanilla bitters, but not so much to overpower the basil or the blackberry.

We’ll keep the garnish simple with some basil and fresh blackberries, but it’s a delight to serve to someone else or to put down in front of yourself for your afternoon tipple.

If you enjoy blackberry cocktails, check out this Blackberry Sage Smash, or this Blackberry Sunset Whiskey Sour.

blackberry old fashioned cocktail in a rocks glass with ice and basil and blackberries
Blackberry Basil Old Fashioned
blackberry old fashioned cocktail in a rocks glass with ice and basil and blackberries

Blackberry Basil Old Fashioned

Heather Wibbels
Take advantage of the aromas of basil blended with the sweetness of blackberries in this summer take on a old fashioned. Use a higher-proof bourbon to make sure the bourbon stands out ahead of the sweet blackberries and fragrant basil.
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Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

  • 2 oz bourbon or rye
  • ½ oz blackberry simple syrup*
  • 1 barspoon basil tincture**
  • 2 dashes Cherry Bark Vanilla bitters
  • 1-2 basil leaves
  • Garnish: basil and fresh or frozen blackberries

Instructions
 

  • Take the basil leaves and rub the inside and rim of a rocks glass until fragrant. Discard leaves. Combine whiskey, syrup, tincture and bitters in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until very chilled. Strain into the prepared glass with ice. Garnish with blackberries and basil.

Notes

* Blackberry simple syrup: combine 2 cups frozen blackberries, ½ cup water and 1 cup sugar in a small saucepan and cook until the blackberries are thawed, soft and very juicy. As the blackberries cook down a bit, press on the berries to release the juice. Stir until the sugar is all dissolved and the blackberries have turned a bit purple. Let the syrup cool and strain out the pulp from the blackberries. Store the syrup in the fridge and save the strained out sweetened blackberries to eat on ice cream.
** For Basil Tincture: put a handful of fresh basil leaves in a 1/2 cup mason jar, cover with 151 proof grain alcohol and let set for 2 to 4 days. Strain and pour into a small dropper bottle.
Keyword basil, blackberry, old fashioned, summer cocktail
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By on July 29th, 2020

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey enthusiast (Executive Bourbon Steward, no less) with a passion for cocktails. She loves researching and designing cocktails, drinking cocktails, and teaching cocktails. Mostly whiskey cocktails, given her Kentucky location

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