Blackberry-Limoncello Gin Smash

Summer is in full swing and we're having such a ball with fruity, summery cocktails on the deck! My latest creation: this awesome Blackberry-Limoncello Gin Smash that's a bit sweet, a bit tart, and perfect for a summer BBQ.

Limoncello has always been a bit of a conundrum for me. I'm of Italian descent, and I adore Limoncello. Dave and I drank it all the time in Florence, sitting outside on our patio in the last rays of the evening sun. It's such a wonderful, unique Italian treat. But the reality is that I find it way too sweet, even for an after-dinner sip.

My solution for years has been to mix it with something stronger, usually vodka. It cuts the sweetness without interfering with the flavor, allowing Limoncello to work as a pre-dinner drink too. But recently I've discovered an even better approach: mixing Limoncello with gin!

It turns out that gin and Limoncello are a match made in heaven. Gin tends to have a lot of floral, citrusy, and herbaceous notes, all of which pair nicely with lemon. Some gins even have lemon rind in their botanical blend. The two just make so much sense together.

Muddling in a few blackberries makes this combination extra special. They add both sweetness and tang, and the blackberry echoes the juniper berry in the gin. Plus, look at that color! It's gorgeous!

One of the things I love most about this drink is that it can become so many different things. For this reason, you'll see lots of different photos here, from several different summers worth of enjoying this cocktail on the deck.

If you want a really light, summery sip, top it off with tonic water and serve it over a bunch of crushed ice. So refreshing! If you prefer a smaller, stronger cocktail, omit the tonic and serve it over a few large cubes. Or, you can even go more in a martini direction by shaking it with ice and then serving it in a chilled coupe glass. For a daytime-appropriate brunch spin, decrease the amount of gin and increase the tonic.

This cocktail is an ode to all things summer: icy gin beverages on the deck, bright tangy citrus, and plump juicy blackberries. Because lemon and gin are both so versatile, this cocktail pairs beautifully with everything from grilled fare to summery salads to appetizers on the deck. We've even brought it on summer picnics and to outdoor concerts!

I hope you enjoy these as much as we have. As you can see from the numerous generations and styles of photos here, this one has been a summer go-to for us for years.

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram.

Blackberry cocktails are so much fun, aren't they?? If you're loving that awesome color, check out these Blackberry Coconut Margaritas too.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
  • 3-5 large, juicy blackberries
  • 1.5-2 oz Gin. I of course love Barr Hill from Vermont, but use whatever you enjoy most. You could also decrease the amount of gin if you want a drink that's less strong, e.g. for alongside brunch.
  • 1 oz Limoncello. This is the main sweetening agent, so tweak as you see fit.
  • Few oz tonic water, optional. See my thoughts above on this; add it if you want a lighter, refreshing drink, omit it for a martini-style drink.
  • Garnishes. I use a few additional blackberries. A lemon wedge would be nice too.
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours) 
  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the blackberries until you've extracted all their juice.
  2. Add the gin and limoncello, then shake well with ice.
  3. Using a strainer (critical for getting out all the blackberry seeds and pulp!), pour into a highball glass with ice OR a chilled coupe or martini glass. See thoughts above on your options.
  4. If desired, add a few oz of tonic water (if you've chosen a larger glass with ice).
  5. Garnish them up however you please!


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