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5-Minute Blackberry Bourbon Smash (No Simple Syrup)

4.5 stars (201 ratings)

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This 5-minute blackberry bourbon smash is part mojito and part mint julep. Made from fresh or frozen Oregon blackberries muddled with lime, basil, and sugar, this cocktail works for any season – no simple syrup required! With over a hundred 5-star ratings, this reader favorite is a refreshing twist on the classic whiskey smash.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Oregon Berries. All opinions are 100% mine.

A close up shot of a blackberry smash cocktail with lime, basil, and blackberries on the side.

5-Minute Whiskey Smash

This blackberry bourbon smash is my non-traditional take on the classic whiskey smash. With over a hundred 5-star reviews and 6,000+ shares on Pinterest, my readers agree that this cocktail is a favorite for good reason.

I’ve swapped mint for basil, lemon for lime, and thrown in a handful of frozen blackberries for good measure. With sugar instead of simple syrup, this recipe is faster to make and tastes better too. (More on that later.)

What you get is a light and refreshing fruity cocktail with the underlying body and depth of flavor only found in properly aged bourbon whiskey. That careful balance means you can enjoy this one in front of a fireplace on a chilly winter’s night or on a patio during a hot summer day. It really is as versatile as it is delicious.

Tools used for making a blackberry smash: cocktail shaker, strainer, and muddler.

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To make this blackberry cocktail at home, you’ll need a couple of special tools: a cocktail shaker, strainer, and muddler. If you make cocktails often, you should already have these in your collection. You’ll also need a jigger or liquid measuring cup and a glass that will hold around 12 ounces.

Cocktail shaker. A necessity for all shaken cocktails, a cocktail shaker allows you to incorporate and rapidly chill your ingredients quickly. Shaped like a large glass with a fitted lid, they are often made of metal, which better conducts the cold, but my current favorite is a glass version with built-in measurements and a lid that doesn’t stick.

Cocktail strainer. Often sold as a set with a shaker, the strainer fits just inside the rim of the shaker, allowing you to pour out the liquid and leave any solids behind. Great for filtering out the citrus rinds in a Cadillac margarita, in this cocktail, the strainer helps remove the basil, lime, and hunks of blackberry that, even when muddled, don’t break up completely.

Pro Tip:

Don’t rely on the strainer in the top of the shaker.
The berries will clog it, leaving you with a mess.

Cocktail muddler. A muddler is a tall cylinder about an inch wide, typically made of metal or wood. It should be long enough to comfortably reach the bottom of a shaker or glass. It lets you press out the juices and oils of fruits, herbs, and other aromatics. A requirement for making a mint julep, the muddler is kind of like the pestle part of a mortar and pestle.

Ingredients for making a blackberry bourbon smash: blackberries, lime, basil, bourbon, sugar, and ice.

Blackberry Bourbon Smash Ingredients

With seven ingredients, including the ice, this blackberry cocktail may seem like a lot, but I promise it’s uncomplicated and easy to throw together in just five minutes. What makes it better is that all the ingredients are easy to source any time of the year. Two ingredients make this cocktail unique: the frozen blackberries and the sugar.

Featured Ingredient: Frozen Oregon Blackberries

I had the pleasure of collaborating with my friends over at Oregon Blackberries to bring you another blackberry recipe inspired by my favorite homegrown fruit.

Like my blackberry gin and tonic, this cocktail is designed to use fresh or frozen Oregon blackberries. I personally prefer the frozen ones, not just because I keep a bag of them in my freezer at all times but because those frozen berries were picked at the peak of the season and have the sweetest flavor.

As the blackberries thaw, they are going to break down much more easily than their fresh counterparts. When you muddle them with the basil, sugar, and lime, they create this sweet, aromatic combination that makes this cocktail so unique.

Don’t live in Oregon? Check your freezer section anyway! You may be surprised to learn that over 90% of all US-grown, frozen blackberries found in freezer sections across the country come from Oregon.

If you already have fresh blackberries on hand, by all means use them! You may just need a little more effort with the muddler and, if your berries are on the tart side, maybe an extra pinch of sugar.

Featured Ingredient: White Granulated Sugar

We use plain white sugar rather than simple syrup in this cocktail. While both the sugar and the syrup provide sweetness, the granulated sugar adds a level of abrasiveness that the simple syrup cannot.

Just like when making a raspberry mojito, this abrasiveness helps to draw out the oils from the lime and mint during muddling, creating a more intensely flavored cocktail.

Since this cocktail is muddled and then shaken, there is plenty of action to help dissolve the sugar. Don’t forget to adjust the sugar to taste based on the sweetness of your berries.

A blackberry cocktail on a brown cocktail napkin with a dark background.

How to Make a Blackberry Bourbon Smash

To make this cocktail, simply add the sugar, basil leaves, blackberries, and bourbon to the bottom of your cocktail shaker. Squeeze in most of the lime juice, then toss the rind into the shaker too. Muddle them together for a few seconds to break up the berries, dissolve the sugar, and release the oils in the lime rind and basil leaves.

Fill both the shaker and a 10 to 12-ounce glass with ice. Close up the shaker and shake to thoroughly combine, then strain it into the ice-filled glass. Top it off with bubble water, then garnish as desired. Enjoy carefully!

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A close up shot of a blackberry smash cocktail with lime, basil, and blackberries on the side.

5-Minute Blackberry Bourbon Smash (No Simple Syrup)

This 5-Minute blackberry bourbon smash is part mojito and part mint julep. Made from fresh or frozen Oregon blackberries muddled with lime, basil, and sugar, this cocktail works for any season – no simple syrup required! With over a hundred 5-star ratings, this reader favorite is a refreshing twist on the classic whiskey smash.
4.5 stars (201 ratings)
prep: 5 minutes
total: 5 minutes
servings: 1 cocktail

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 tsp sugar
  • 3 – 4 basil leaves
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 cup frozen blackberries
  • 2 ounces bourbon whiskey
  • ice cubes
  • 2 ounces club soda

Instructions

  • In a cocktail shaker, add sugar, basil leaves, blackberries, and bourbon. Squeeze in the juice from the lime, then toss the rind into the shaker as well. Muddle to break up the berries, release the oil in the basil and lime, and dissolve the sugar.
  • Add a generous amount of ice to the shaker, then shake to chill and combine.
  • Fill an old fashioned glass ice. Strain cocktail over ice, top off with club soda. Garnish with additional basil, berries, and lime if desired. Enjoy immediately.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1Calories: 187kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 1gSodium: 2mgFiber: 3gSugar: 11g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated and is for general information purposes only. For the most accurate information, calculate using your select brands and exact measurements.

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About Renee N Gardner

I'm the recipe developer, food photographer, and mastermind behind Renee Nicole's Kitchen, where I help create kitchen confidence to inspire home cooks to become home chefs. No fancy fads here, just high-quality, homemade recipes featuring seasonal ingredients.

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4 Comments on “5-Minute Blackberry Bourbon Smash (No Simple Syrup)”

  1. 5 stars
    This is a great drink that allows the bourbon or whisky flavors shine through.
    The only change I make is to use demerra sugar (or raw sugar) instead.

    Reply
    • Timothy

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t made it with raw sugar as the crystals take much longer to dissolve than the fine grains in granulated sugar. Any tips on getting it to dissolve faster?

      Renee

      Reply
  2. 5 stars
    We will typically drink an old fashioned or I’ll take my bourbon whiskey neat and my husband takes his on the rocks, but he wanted something different and we had blackberries at home so I tried this. I didn’t have basil but the drink worked out anyway… So much so that he asked for a couple more.. haha. This was during Christmas and I thought about it again today so I’m going to get some basil and try it out with it.

    Reply

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