Fix up a fast and elegant bourbon whiskey cocktail with this Blackberry Whiskey Sour. With the added foam (optional) you can truly decide how dressed up you want your whiskey cocktail to be. When I’m working on a sour, I often start the process by looking at what I have on hand. Right now, I’ve got some lonely blackberries in the freezer that were calling out to me to be made into simple syrup. One of my favorites, blackberry simple syrup, can be used for cocktails as well as waffles, pancakes and ice cream. It can even be used as a sweet finish to some baked salmon or a lovely filet.
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Flavors in this Blackberry Whiskey Sour
In addition to our blackberry simple syrup, we’ll add blackberry whiskey to make sure the flavors pop in the blackberry bourbon sour. And in addition to the lemon and the egg white, a touch of black walnut bitters brings out a bit of the sweetness in the cocktail as well as balances out the other sweet and sour notes from the other ingredients.
Choosing a Great Whiskey for this Blackberry Bourbon Drink
To make a fantastic cocktail, the ingredients must be matched to the base spirit – and vice versa. In this case, I went with a slightly nutty Old Forester bourbon. But moderately spicy rye like Rittenhouse works wonders here as well. If you’d prefer a less assertive bourbon to blend well with the nutty flavors, Woodford Reserve or Four Roses Small Batch are great options.
I counsel people to mix up everything except the bourbon, then nose both the bourbon and the shaker simultaneously. If they go together by aroma they’ll likely go together via flavor.
Creating Simple Syrups for Cocktails
With fruit-based simple syrups you can either use a cold process or a cooked process to create them. I adore the taste of a blackberry cobbler with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Thus, for blackberries, I used a cooked simple syrup to mimic the taste of those cooked berries in the cobbler. If I’m making a strawberry simple, I prefer a cold process. I prefer the taste of fresh strawberries over cooked berries.
Either way, take a few minutes to read my article all about simple syrups for cocktails. It’s a great reference for you if you haven’t experimented with making your own at home.
What is a Whiskey Sour?
For more information on the basics of whiskey sour with whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a common ratio of 2:1:1, head to my article on How to Make an Easy Whiskey Sour. If you love the workout and beauty of foam atop a cocktail, head to this article: How to Make a Boston Sour.
Either way, dressing up a classic whiskey sour into a blackberry whiskey sour is a gorgeous riff on a classic. Both the vibrant magenta color and the stiff backbone of whiskey to make the drink successful.
Ingredients in this Blackberry Bourbon Sour
For me, a cocktail is all about personal preference. I can make what I like, but it works even better if I give you options to adjust a recipe to make one that you will love. Ffor this blackberry whiskey sour, if you’ve got some blackberries, you decide if you’d rather the taste of cooked or fresh blackberries and proceed from there.
To amp up the taste of the blackberry in the cocktail itself, I’m supplementing the blackberry simple syrup with some blackberry liqueur. My two favorites are from two smaller craft distilleries near Louisville, KY. The first is Starlight distillery’s blackberry flavored whiskey, and the second is Blackberry Moonshine from Jeptha Creed. I’ve tried other moonshines and liqueurs, sometimes blackberry schnapps or Crème de Mure, but both of these stand out.
One thing that I’ve always got to include in any blackberry whiskey sour or old fashioned cocktail is Fee’s Brothers black walnut bitters. In a sour with an egg white, you can put some in the cocktail itself, and also a few drops artistically on the foam.
How to Make This Blackberry Sunset Whiskey Sour
Like any whiskey sour, we’ll add the ingredients into a shaking tin, add ice and shake vigorously. If you’re adding an egg white. Shake the cocktail in a shaker with just 1 or 2 pieces of ice for about 30 seconds. Then add a full complement of ice and shake for 10-12 seconds. Double strain into your prepared (and chilled) coupe glass and voila – foam for days on your blackberry bourbon sour.
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Blackberry Sunset Whiskey Sour
- 1.5 oz bourbon 100 proof or higher
- ¾ oz blackberry liqueur
- ¾ oz lemon juice
- ¾ oz blackberry simple syrup* See notes for recipe
- ¾ oz egg white or aquafaba optional
- 3 dashes black walnut bitters
- Garnish: fresh or frozen blackberries and a lemon slice
- Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a shaking tin with one ice cube and shake for 30 seconds.
- Open the shaker, fill with ice and shake a second time, 30-60 seconds.
- Double strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with blackberries and lemon.