This blackberry cocktail is perfect for summertime! Refreshing blackberry whiskey lemonade with homemade blackberry syrup and a hint of earthiness from fresh rosemary. (Recipe for 21+. Please drink responsibly).
This easy blackberry cocktail is about to be your summertime BFF. It's rich and earthy, but still refreshing: perfect for cocktail hour, brunch, or a lazy afternoon in the sunshine!
What you need for this blackberry whiskey lemonade:
- Easy homemade blackberry syrup (we'll simmer fresh blackberries with a bit of sugar or honey and a splash of water, then strain the berry pulp out for a smooth syrup!)
- Lemon juice (use real lemon juice here - not pre-made lemonade!)
- Your favorite whiskey (we love a rich, spicy bourbon here!)
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- Tonic water (you could also use club soda, soda water, or prosecco)
- Plenty of ice!
This is an easy whiskey cocktail to make at home: Just combine your ingredients, shake everything with some ice, and serve over more ice in a rocks glass (or a mason jar!)
Top if off with a splash of tonic water and a sprig of rosemary and you're good to go!
Use a cocktail shaker if you have one here: It's important to shake this blackberry lemonade cocktail to ensure all the ingredients are properly mixed. No cocktail shaker? Pour everything into a large mason jar, add some ice, then screw the lid on and shake!
How to make this blackberry cocktail for a crowd:
This is an easy cocktail to make in a big batch if you need to serve a crowd!
- Make the blackberry syrup a day or two ahead of time. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
- Juice your lemons in the morning before your guests arrive and store the juice in a mason jar in the fridge (you can use bottled lemon juice if you prefer, but it will taste much brighter with fresh lemon juice!)
- Just before your guests arrive, combine the blackberry syrup, lemon juice, and bourbon in a large drink pitcher. Use a large whisk or immersion blender to whisk the mixture for a few seconds to incorporate the ingredients. Add a few sprigs of rosemary to the pitcher and store it in the fridge until you're ready to serve.
- When you're ready to serve, pour the drink mixture into individual glasses filled with ice, top each serving with a bit of tonic water, and you're good to go! This whiskey lemonade will last in the fridge for 3-4 hours before it starts to lose flavor.
What kind of whiskey should I use for this cocktail?
Use any whiskey you like here!
We tend to reach for Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon for most of our whiskey cocktails: it's well balanced, not too expensive, and goes well with just about anything. If you like spicier, more booze-forward cocktails, you can use a stronger, spicier rye whiskey (we like Rittenhouse Rye for cocktail making!) You could also opt for an Irish whiskey here - our best advice is just to use a whiskey that you know you like!
If you're not a whiskey fan, this cocktail is also great with gin or vodka!
For more easy summer whiskey cocktail inspiration, be sure to check out our Strawberry Whiskey Lemonade or our Sweet Whiskey Lemonade recipes.
This recipe is for readers 21+. Please drink responsibly.
Video: How to make blackberry whiskey lemonade
Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: Makes 4-6 cocktails 1x
- Category: Drinks
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegan
A delicious blackberry whiskey lemonade cocktail perfect for summer entertaining.
FOR THE BLACKBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP:
- 12 ounces fresh blackberries
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
FOR THE BLACKBERRY WHISKEY LEMONADE:
- 8 ounces (1 cup) whiskey
- 8 ounces (1 cup) lemon juice
- 6 ounces (¾ cup) blackberry simple syrup (recipe above)
- 1 large rosemary sprig, plus extra for garnish
- 8 ounces (1 cup) tonic water
FOR THE BLACKBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP:
- Put the blackberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until blackberries have softened and syrup has slightly thickened (it should be thicker than water, but a little bit thinner than maple syrup).
- Strain syrup through a mesh sieve to separate any seeds or lumps from the syrup. You can discard or compost the leftover berry pulp, but we like to freeze it in ice cube trays and pop a cube or two into smoothies.
- Let syrup cool on the counter for 20 minutes before you make the drinks, or let it cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
FOR THE BLACKBERRY WHISKEY LEMONADE:
- Combine whiskey, lemon juice, blackberry syrup, and a sprig of fresh rosemary in a large cocktail shaker. Add a handful or two of ice cubes. Depending on the size of your shaker, you may have to shake the drinks in two batches.
- Shake for 15-30 seconds to chill drinks and ensure all ingredients are combined.
- Strain drinks into cocktail glasses filled with fresh ice. Top each drink with a splash of tonic water, garnish with a sprig of rosemary (optional), and serve immediately.
Additions and substitutions. Use honey in place of sugar for the blackberry syrup if you like. Use raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries in place of the blackberries if you prefer. Use vodka or gin instead of whiskey. Use frozen blackberries instead of fresh if you like (you will need to extend the syrup cook time by a few minutes). Omit the rosemary or use basil in its place. For a stronger rosemary flavor, add a sprig of rosemary to the blackberry syrup while it cooks. Use club soda, soda water, or prosecco in place of the tonic water if you like, or omit it completely.
What kind of whiskey should I use? We like using Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon for our whiskey cocktails. For a more booze-forward drink, you can use Rittenhouse Rye. Irish whiskey is also good here. Use whatever liquor you typically like to drink! If you're not a whiskey person, you can use vodka or gin instead of whiskey.
Make-ahead tips. Make the blackberry syrup a day or two in advance if you like. Strain out the berry pulp, let syrup cool completely, and store in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to use. If you're using fresh lemon juice, juice the lemons in the morning on the day you plan to make cocktails (any earlier and the flavor can start to change) and store in an airtight container in the fridge until you're ready to use.
To make this blackberry cocktail for a crowd, follow a 3:4:4 ratio (3 parts blackberry syrup to 4 parts each whiskey and lemon juice) and scale up as needed. For detailed instructions and a make-ahead timeline, be sure to read the post above.
If you don't have a cocktail shaker, use a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid instead.
Store extra blackberry syrup in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to six months.
This recipe was updated in 2020 with additional notes and photos.
Please drink responsibly.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 265
- Sugar: 28.2 g
- Sodium: 1.8 mg
- Fat: 0.3 g
- Carbohydrates: 32.7 g
- Protein: 0.7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
Keywords: cocktail, bourbon, mixed drink
These are our new favorite starter cocktail for entertaining. We’ve made them 3 times now, everyone loved them. They go perfect in the little pint Ball jars. We top with club soda. Great recipe.
How many times would you double this for a pitcher?
Jessie @ Life As A Strawberry
I think the 3x size should be plenty for a pitcher (that would give you about 12 drinks) and you can always add some extra champagne or tonic water to stretch it out even further if you need to. There are some buttons on the top right corner of the recipe that say 1x, 2x, and 3x - if you click the 3x button it will automatically scale the recipe and instructions up for you! Hope that helps!
It is very refreshing!!
My friends..!!!when crazy!!
The taste excellent...!!
I learned how to make Simple Syrup!!! 🙂 thank u!!!
Wahoo! So happy to hear that, RuthAnn!
About how much blackberry juice should we get after we strain it?
It varies a bit, but I usually get about a cup!
Silly question but by lemon juice do you mean actual bottled lemon juice or lemonade? Thanks in advance!
Actual lemon juice! I love fresh squeezed when I have the time, but bottled is fine, too!
Which whiskey brand do you use, as we are not normally whiskey drinkers but would like to try this recipe:) thank you for your help!
OMG, this sounds like the Blackberry Sangria I had at Outback Steakhouse. They used whiskey and moscato wine, topped off with fresh blackberries and a lemon slice. Best thing I ever put in my mouth!!! Could have drank a pitcher by myself, but the buzz from just one was enough to make me downright HAPPY!!
Blackberry Sangria sounds amazing!!
This sounds so good; I can't wait to try!
I am wondering if it's possible to make this in a large enough batch to accommodate a larger party. Say 15 - 20 guests (total guest count is 40)? Would it be too difficult?
Definitely! You could even mix it all up in advance and keep it in the fridge until you're ready for it. For bigger batches, I'd start with a 3:4:4 ratio of simple syrup to whiskey to lemon juice, and then give it a taste and tweak it as necessary. If it's easier, you can even throw the rosemary in with the simple syrup while it cooks so you can infuse the rosemary flavor without having to shake a bunch of batches of the cocktail - just stir everything together in a pitcher instead. You can always put out tonic water and/or champagne for guests to top the cocktails with during the party as well. Hope that helps!
Christine @ myblissfulmess
It's 9:42 in the morning. Do you suppose an exception can be made for this drink? LOL Seriously though, this sounds awesome and I'm such huge fan of anything blackberry.
I meannnn sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do, right? 😉
Can I freeze the mix and thaw when ready to use? Could I make it without the lemon flavor and add to lemonade?
You can certainly freeze the blackberry syrup and lemon juice, but I'd leave the whiskey out since liquor doesn't really freeze. I've never made this with premade lemonade - only with fresh squeezed lemon juice - but you could certainly give it a try! You may just need to adjust the ratio of syrup and whiskey to lemonade to help it suit your tastes.
I would love to make this in a big batch for our signature cocktail at our reception! Could we substitute the homemade simple syrup for a store bought blackberry syrup (Torani)?
Hi, Stephanie! I haven't used store-bought blackberry syrup, so I couldn't say for sure, but you can definitely give it a try! I'd just say be sure to taste it before serving - cocktails are pretty forgiving, so if you find it's a little too sweet with the store bought syrup you can always add more lemon juice or whiskey to bring the flavor balance back to a place you like it. I hope that helps!