A few years back, Bradley were on a mission to explore new (to us) and novel cocktails. We were living in Portland, OR at the time, a veritable mecca of fantastic cocktail bars. Occasionally, we would get out to enjoy them (oh, how I loved going to the Expatriate in NE Portland) but mostly we were stuck at home with a baby and had to do our experimenting ourselves.
If you’re willing to go down the expensive rabbit-hole of forgotten apertifs and mixers, I highly recommend the book Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. We learned dozens of great recipes, most of which we had never heard of.
I also found some interesting new concoctions online, including a recipe for Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade which I am sharing via the direct link, and below.
I found myself craving this the other day when I was pondering holiday cocktail choices. It may seem like an odd choice for a mid-winter drink, but honestly the freshness of the lemon and mint combined with the blackberries and bourbon really compliments a lot of holiday dishes (we had prime rib at our house) and helps offset some of the heaviness of rich traditional Christmas offerings.
But I digress. On to the booze:
I basically followed the recipe in the link above, but my process is slightly different.
8 ounces fresh blackberries (or, if you’re like me, whatever is left of the giant Costco container you bought for the kids)
6 ounces (3/4 cup) Bourbon*
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup simple syrup
1 Tbs. fresh mint
Dash ground cardamom (I used fresh pods, see below)
*I also find Bulleit Bourbon good for this recipe – it’s not total rotgut but it’s also not insanely expensive to put in in a mixed drink – also, I used like a cup ‘cuz BOURBON!
Smash the blackberries in a large pitcher. This is hard at first, because the berries are so beautiful and I hate seeing them smashed. You get over it quickly, though. I have a big wooden stomper I use for homemade sauerkraut, which works just fine for blackberry smashing.
Add bourbon, lemon juice and simple syrup.
Crush cardamom pods.
Can you tell I LOVE CARDAMOM?! I think this is my favorite part of the recipe. Besides the bourbon obvs.
Then, because I already had my morter and pestle out, I went ahead and muddle the mint along with the freshly crushed cardamom. (This mixture smells HEAVENLY by the way.)
Add the mint + cardamom to the blackberry mixture and stir well.
At this point, I pour a healthy portion of the blackberry lemonade into a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake like the dickens, then I strain all the blackberry seeds and mint leaves out (I don’t like having that stuff stuck in my teeth).
VOILA! I hope you enjoy this as much as I do. Cheers!