A Toast to the Preakness: Black-Eyed Rye Cocktail


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Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes, Sagamore Spirit Blackberry Simple Syrup

Did you know September is Bourbon Heritage Month? I found out last week, and I feel like a failure, since Kyle absolutely loves his Bourbon. In fact, when we were in Maine, Kyle bought two cases of Bourbon (not an exaggeration) from his favorite New England distillery, Split Rock. Because they’re awesome, they threw in some Split Rock swag and a bottle of Sagamore Spirit Blackberry Simple Syrup, where I found this Black-Eyed Rye recipe. Not even kidding, y’all– it’s become my favorite whiskey drink of all time. The Black-Eyed Rye is, in my opinion, a tastier variation of the Black-Eyed Susan, the official drink of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. Needless to say, this blackberry whiskey cocktail is a must-try for Derby fans and rye whiskey lovers alike. 

Keep reading for the full blackberry whiskey cocktail recipe and pin-friendly recipe card! You can also check out more Derby-approved cocktail recipes here.

Black-Eyed Rye Cocktail

Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes

Ingredients

This cocktail recipe is broken up into two parts: the simple syrup and the blackberry whiskey cocktail itself. That being said, here’s everything you’ll need to make a Black-Eyed Rye–

Blackberry Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup fresh blackberries (plus a few more for garnish)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Black-Eyed Rye Cocktail

  • 1.5oz rye whiskey– Any rye whiskey will do, but I prefer Sagamore Spirit! This recipe is actually adapted from one of the backs of their blackberry simple syrup bottles. 
  • .75oz blackberry simple syrup (homemade or store-bought)– I’m including a recipe for homemade blackberry simple syrup below, but I’ll be honest. I think I prefer Sagamore Spirit’s blackberry simple syrup. It’s just so incredibly tasty in cocktails and drizzled on top of desserts!
  • 4-5 mint leaves
  • .5oz fresh lime juice
  • 3oz ginger beer– Zevia and Reed’s make my personal favorites. They’re both naturally sweetened and have 0 calories. Simple Syrup Storage 
    • Ice– These whiskey ice cube trays are perfect for this rye whiskey cocktail!

    Substitutions

    There are a few simple substitutions you can make in this recipe! Here are some that’ve worked for me personally–

    • Bourbon– Although the official Black-Eyed Rye is made with rye whiskey, this whiskey cocktail is equally delicious with Bourbon and/or Tennessee Whiskey.
    • Sagamore Spirit blackberry simple syrup– I’ll be honest, I’m normally a huge advocate of making my own simple syrups, but Sagamore Spirit’s blackberry simple syrup is to die for. Kyle and I always keep a few extra bottles on hand– it’s become a bar cart staple for us!
    • Light ginger beer– Light ginger beer is an easy way to lower the calorie count. A lot of people don’t like the taste, but I can’t tell the difference. Zevia and Reed’s make my personal favorites. They’re both naturally sweetened and have 0 calories.

    Black-Eyed Rye Recipe

    Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes

    First, in a small saucepan, bring fresh blackberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, gently mashing any blackberries that haven’t popped. Remove from heat and set aside, allowing to cool for about 5 minutes. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer and into an airtight container, discarding the solids. Refrigerate until needed. Note: If you’re using store-bought blackberry simple syrup, skip this step! 

    Next, combine the rye whiskey, prepared blackberry simple syrup, lime juice, and 3 mint leaves in a cocktail mixer. Shake with ice and strain into a prepared double old-fashioned glass.

    Finally, top with ginger beer (I prefer Zevia or Reed’s– they have no calories and no sugar) and garnish with remaining mint sprigs and blackberries. If you want to do some extra presentation-wise, you can either put blackberries on skewers or halve them so they float visibly on top of the ice. 

    Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes

    Blackberry Simple Syrup Storage

    Yes, this homemade blackberry simple syrup is both fridge and freezer-friendly! Here are some handy simple syrup storage tips–

    • Fridge– When stored in an airtight container in the fridge, this blackberry simple syrup can be made well in advance! As is the case with most homemade flavored syrups, it’ll keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks. You’ll know when it’s starting to go bad when the syrup grows cloudy.
    • Freezer– This blackberry simple syrup can also be frozen into silicone ice trays! I recommend storing the cubes in a freezer-safe bag and then thawing them overnight as needed.

    Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes, Sagamore Spirit Blackberry Simple Syrup

    Just a tip– this blackberry whiskey cocktail tastes particularly great consumed on cozy front porches. Swings, pillows, and fluffy puppies encouraged.

    Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes, Sagamore Spirit Blackberry Simple Syrup Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes, Sagamore Spirit Blackberry Simple Syrup Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes, Sagamore Spirit Blackberry Simple Syrup

    For a drink designed to be served in May, the mint and blackberries taste pretty darn delicious in the fall, too. 

    Preakness-Approved Blackberry Whiskey Cocktail: Black-Eyed Rye by southern lifestyle blogger Stephanie Ziajka from Diary of a Debutante, blackberry cocktail recipes, Sagamore Spirit Black-Eyed Rye recipe, Derby Day drink recipes, Sagamore Spirit Blackberry Simple Syrup

    Black-Eyed Rye

    Black-Eyed Rye

    Yield: 1 cocktail
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 15 minutes

    A unique take on the iconic Black-Eyed Susan, the Black-Eyed Rye is a must-try Rye whiskey cocktail for blackberry lovers and Derby fans alike!

    Ingredients

    Blackberry Simple Syrup

    • 1 cup fresh blackberries (plus a few more for garnish)
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

    Black-Eyed Rye Cocktail

    • 1.5oz rye whiskey, such as Sagamore Spirit
    • .75oz blackberry simple syrup
    • 4-5 mint leaves
    • .5oz fresh lime juice
    • 3oz ginger beer

    Instructions

    1. In a small saucepan, bring fresh blackberries, water, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, gently mashing any blackberries that haven't popped. Remove from heat and set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer and into an airtight container, discarding the solids. Refrigerate until needed.
    2. Combine rye whiskey, prepared blackberry simple syrup, lime juice, and 3 mint leaves in a cocktail mixer. Shake with ice and strain into glass.
    3. Top with ginger beer and garnish with remaining mint sprigs and fresh blackberries.

    Notes

    Recipe Tips

    • Muddle mint and blackberries in cocktail glass for extra flavor.

    Substitutions

    • Bourbon- Although the official Black-Eyed Rye is made with rye whiskey, this whiskey cocktail is equally delicious with Bourbon and/or Tennessee Whiskey.
    • Sagamore Spirit blackberry simple syrup- I'll be honest, I'm normally a huge advocate of making my own simple syrups, but Sagamore Spirit's blackberry simple syrup is to die for. Kyle and I always keep a few extra bottles on hand-- it's become a bar cart staple for us!
    • Light ginger beer– Light ginger beer is an easy way to lower the calorie count. A lot of people don’t like the taste, but I can’t tell the difference. Zevia and Reed’s make my personal favorites. They’re both naturally sweetened and have 0 calories. Simple Syrup Storage

    Simple Syrup Storage

    • Fridge- When stored in an airtight container in the fridge, this blackberry simple syrup can be made well in advance! As is the case with most homemade flavored syrups, it'll keep in an airtight container for 1-2 weeks. You'll know when it's starting to go bad when the syrup grows cloudy.
    • Freezer- This blackberry simple syrup can also be frozen into silicone ice trays! I recommend storing the cubes in a freezer-safe bag and thawing them overnight as needed.

    This recipe was adapted from Sagamore Spirit and updated on 7/2/22 to include a homemade blackberry simple syrup recipe.

     
    As always, please let me know if you have any questions about this blackberry whiskey cocktail or any of my others. I love hearing from y’all, and I’m happy to help!

    Oh, and in case you’re looking for similar glassware and galvanized serveware, I’ve linked similar cocktail glasses here and a similar galvanized serving tray here. Thanks so much for reading– and happy fall, y’all!

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