Winter can’t end soon enough and I need a blackberry old fashioned to remind me of the hot summer days to come. When it’s cool and rainy for days I want to sip something that makes me think summer, and since I still had some frozen blackberries left over from last summer, wanted to make a tasty blackberry syrup to use in cocktails until summer gets here.
Because I wanted something simple to put together, I went with a classic old fashioned. For me, that ratio is 2 oz of bourbon or rye with 1/2 oz of simple syrup and dash of bitters.
This particular syrup was from a friend who’d made blackberry lime jam, but the jam didn’t quite set. I took it off her hands to use in cocktails and I think I got the better end of the bargain.
When I make my own blackberry simple syrup, I combine 2 cups of blackberries with 1/2 to 1 c water and 1.5 cups white sugar. I let them simmer on the stove until the sugar dissolves, then use a ladle to break up or crush a good bit of the berries to get the juices out. Once it’s reduced a tiny bit and all the sugar is dissolved, I put it through a fine strainer to get all the seeds and pulp out. It’ll save in the fridge for several weeks, and more if you add a little vodka to it as a preservative. In this case, I would add the zest of one lime to get that hint of acidity that her syrup has.
Don’t discard the sugary berries or pulp. You can use them to make a fabulous cobbler, as a topping on a huge bowl of ice cream, or as a mix to go in with your morning yogurt or smoothie. All of these options are amazing uses of this sugary sweet treat.
Normally, I would build the cocktail in a rocks glass, but I was feeling fancy, so I made this blackberry old fashioned stand out a bit by putting in a coupe with an oversized piece of ice. It elevated the cocktail for appearances, and there’s no hard and fast rule that you can’t use coupes for drinks with ice. One large cube can look quite striking in a coupe. Garnish with a couple of frozen blackberries and you’ve got a beauty to drink.
Blackberry Old Fashioned
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1/2 oz blackberry simple syrup
- 2 drops black walnut bitters
- 5 drops tiki bitters
- Garnish: Frozen or fresh blackberries
- Combine the bourbon, blackberry simple syrup and bitters in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well-chilled and strain into an old fashioned glass with one large ice cube. Garnish with fresh or frozen blackberries.