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Blackberry Bourbon Cooler

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blackberry bourbon cocktail in highball glass with lemon and mint garnish
Blackberry Bourbon Cooler

Blackberries are all around us and I just knew that a lemon, mint, blackberry combination would work wonders with bourbon so I have a Blackberry Bourbon Cooler. It’s a great combination of fresh blackberries, lemon simple syrup and a touch of sweet tonic. And of course mint for you to spank.

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I bet you thought I was going to use my ever-present blackberry syrup today, didn’t you? Surprise! Today I’m going to a quick muddle of fresh blackberries to keep that tartness, adding in a bit of lemon simple syrup which bursts with lemon fragrance and flavor and I’ll add some tender mint leaves for aroma.

muddling blackberry bourbon cocktail in highball glass with lemon and mint garnish
Blackberry Bourbon Cooler

You already knew mint and lemons were a great combination, but adding in the tartness of the fresh blackberries with the lemon-essence simple syrup is a game changer.

If you haven’t already made a batch of the lemon simple syrup, you need to right now. All you need is lemon, sugar and your peeler. I’ve got the recipe below in the notes. I first played with it in the Lavender Lemon Old Fashioned last week.

This cocktail works great as a summer cocktail because you build it in the glass. It’s also using fresh ingredients, and you top it off with a bit of effervescence to make the aromas a little more tingly in your mouth.

I vacillated between using mint or lavender in the cocktail, but in the end, the refreshing push of mint matched better with the lemon and blackberry flavors. It kept the cocktail lighter and brighter in terms of flavors without overwhelming the lemon and blackberry with florals.

blackberry bourbon cocktail in highball glass with lemon and mint garnish, pouring tonic
Blackberry Bourbon Cooler

Bourbon or Rye?

You can absolutely use either bourbon or rye in the cocktail. I tested with both, but of course I preferred the bourbon. Bourbon and lemon are a winning combination for me.

The rye is amazing, but I think with rye I would leave out the tonic and go for a lightly flavored seltzer or soda water to keep the tonic from competing with the rye whiskey.

Tonic or Soda?

Now, the tonic does add a touch of bitter, so if you’re going for a less bitter, more sweet, harmonious cocktail, go with a soda or citrus flavored seltzer. Try to find one that not too sweet, you don’t want to add sprite to it since it’s already a sweet cocktail.

So use up those last few blackberries hanging out in the fridge with a quick muddle and a bit of mint. You’ll love the flavor combination and the surprise at the end: scoop out bourbon-infused blackberry pieces from the bottom of the glass.

If you love blackberry, try this Blackberry Basil Old Fashioned or this Blackberry Sunset Sour. If you’re a mint fiend, try this Smash Hit – Whiskey Smash. They’re both favorites at my house.

blackberry bourbon cocktail in highball glass with lemon and mint garnish
Blackberry Bourbon Cooler
blackberry bourbon cocktail in highball glass with lemon and mint garnish

Blackberry Bourbon Cooler

Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktailHeather Wibbels
A quick five-ingredient cocktail with muddled blackberries, bright lemon simple syrup, fresh mint, whiskey and tonic, it’s an ode to the hot afternoons of late summer when the garden’s mint is out of control, the blackberries continue to pop up and the bright citrus of lemon sweetens almost everything.
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Course Drinks
Cuisine Bourbon Cocktail
Servings 1


  • 5 fresh blackberries
  • ½ oz lemon simple syrup**
  • 6 leaves of mint, spanked and torn in half
  • 1.5 oz bourbon or rye whiskey
  • Topped with citrus tonic water or a citrus seltzer see notes above
  • Garnish: lemon wedges and fresh mint sprig


  • Muddle blackberries and lemon simple in the bottom of a tall glass. Add mint leaves, muddle lightly again. Add bourbon and fill ½ with ice. Stir briefly, top with soda and stir briefly again. Top with garnish as desired.


**Lemon Simple Syrup:
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Peels from the fresh lemons you just juiced – just the peel, no pith.
Combine the juice and sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and it’s at a very low simmer. Add the lemon peels, stir, and let sit for about 5 minutes on low heat. Turn off the heat and let the whole mixture steep for 45 minutes. Strain out the peels, bottle and refrigerate the lemon simple syrup. It will keep about 2 weeks, a little longer if you add some vodka to it.
Keyword blackberry, bourbon, lemon, mint, soda, tonic water
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
By on August 5th, 2020
Picture of Heather Wibbels, Cocktail Contessa, pouring a cocktail

About Heather Wibbels

Heather Wibbels is a whiskey and cocktail author (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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