Blackberry Smash

The weather today was gorgeous. 60°F, sunny, not too windy.  The perfect evening for sitting on a porch with a friend and sipping a refreshing cocktail. So for this week’s cocktail, we’ll take a swing at a Blackberry Smash in the backyard!

A smash is a broad name for any drink that’s spirit plus herb plus fresh fruit.  Think of it as a julep with more freedom.  The name’s been around since the 1880s because it’s simple, flexible, and delicious. The original whiskey smash, as I understand it, was made with lemon and mint. Since I’ve used a lot of citrus recently, I decided to take the more subtle route this time and use some lemongrass. And I couldn’t wait until July for local blackberries.

With a nice shot of our neighbor’s yard.


  • 2 parts rye
  • 0.75 part simple syrup
  • 3-4 blackberries
  • 4-5 inches lemongrass, chopped

Place the simple syrup, blackberries, and chopped lemongrass in a mixing glass and muddle vigorously. This could take a while; you want to get as much flavor out of the lemongrass as you can. Don’t forget to taste the muddled mixture before adding the spirit to make sure you can taste the lemongrass.

Add the rye, then shake over ice and double strain to make sure you keep those little blackberry seeds of your glass. Garnish with a lemongrass spear and a nice, juicy blackberry.

Sam takes a tentative sniff of the concoction I handed him.

I was joined this evening by my good friend Sam. He had the blackberry smash as made above, and I had a variant with an added 0.5 part half & half to add a little creaminess to the drink. I’m not convinced that the half & half really accomplished anything substantial, but it did make the drink look more like a smoothie. I’m sure that counts for something.


The blackberry smash is very refreshing. You first get the pungent aroma of the rye, but that melts quickly into the sweet and tart of the blackberry. The lemongrass really comes through in the finish, giving the drink a light and fruity aftertaste. Everything comes together very nicely, and no flavor is left out or overpowered. It’s the spice and bite of the rye that keeps this drink from being overly sweet, so I’m not sure how other whiskeys would fare here. Regardless, I’m content to sit here and sip a blackberry smash with a good friend, my undersized bear, Griffin, and the sunset.

Sam and Griffin, sharing a moment.

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