Purple Rain

Floral, refreshing, and a bit sweet, this easy sipper is an ode to all things purple. It's such a wonderful cocktail for spring and summer. But can you guess the inspiration behind it?

If you're a fan of Prince, then I imagine the title of this cocktail caught your eye right away. It's named for Prince's song Purple Rain, which is one of his most iconic and popular tracks.

Dave and I are both huge Prince fans and love his music and the message of love and acceptance that he worked so hard to spread. Last month was the five-year anniversary of his death. After listening to his music throughout the day, I heard Purple Rain and for some reason it popped into my head: this would be an excellent name for a cocktail! Hence the idea for this drink was born, but we could alternatively call it a Blackberry Lavender Gin & Tonic.

Purple Rain became especially meaningful to me after a very long, hard, and rainy walk. I was in San Francisco for work and finished early, so I had a full day free. I know the city really well and love to walk there, so I set out to walk 26.2 miles. I've since done appreciably longer days, but at the time it was my first marathon-length walk. Unfortunately it rained steadily all day and was chilly, windy, and overall pretty miserable.

About 18 miles in I was hurting pretty bad, completely soaked, and fighting some blisters from being in soaked shoes all day. I stopped in at Tacolicious down in the Mission District, which is one of my favorite restaurants and areas of town. I sat at the bar alone, just happy to be out of the rain, and had a couple margaritas and tacos. I really didn't want to go back outside and was worried I wasn't going to be able to finish.

When I went back out, I put in my headphones and set my phone to shuffle through my Prince collection (which is vast). As the rain poured down and I sloshed along Market Street, Purple Rain came on and was so fitting. It gave me so much motivation, and right then I knew I'd be able to finish. Even though the rain kept coming down, I finished my 26.2 miles and was so proud.

This cocktail is an ode to Prince's amazing music, to his philosophy of universal love and acceptance, and to Purple Rain. It is a celebration of all purple ingredients, which I think speaks to the eclectic and multi-dimensional nature of Prince's music.

The flavor powerhouse in this cocktail is a blackberry-lavender simple syrup that you can easily make at home. It's a delightful mix of floral and fruit notes, which echoes the complex nature of the botanicals in gin. The blackberry-lavender syrup (look at the beautiful purple colored liquid in the small jar in the photo above!), combined with gin and some refreshing tonic, then garnished with an assortment of purple fruit, makes for a light and versatile summer drink.

One very important purple element that certainly needs to be mentioned is Empress 1908 Gin. Its purple hue comes naturally from butterfly pea flower. I love the bright, citrusy flavors in this gin and it's a perfect fit for this cocktail. I hope you can get your hands on a bottle of this gin, since it's so special and unique! If you can, check out my Unicorn Cocktail and also my Six Citrus Gin Punch.

The only proper way to finish this cocktail off is with some purple flowers. I'm already excited to make it with edible purple violets when they start to bloom in our yard. I feel like Prince would definitely be into the purple flowers.

The first time I made this drink was a few days after the five-year anniversary of Prince's death. We enjoyed a couple of these and a bunch of casual finger foods for a really nice Friday date night. We of course listened to a lot of Prince's music too, and watched a few videos. It was definitely the right way to celebrate his memory and all the wonderful art and inspiration he created.

I hope you have a blast with this one! It's definitely a cocktail in which more is more. Do Prince proud and make it over-the-top and fun.

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.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Empress 1908 Gin. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.

Are you a gin lover? I bet you'll also enjoy this Blackberry Limoncello Gin Smash, which has some similar flavors.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)

  • 0.5 oz blackberry-lavender simple syrup. You can make this easily at home! Just boil a handful of blackberries and a spoonful of lavender in a 1:1 mixture of water and sugar. Use a fork to mash up the blackberries so they release their colorful juice. Boil until the mixture has reduced significantly and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. It will keep for weeks in the fridge, so put any leftover syrup in a jar and enjoy it the next couple weekends!
  • 3 oz low-sugar tonic water
  • 2.5 oz Empress 1908 Gin
  • Blackberries and purple grapes for garnish
Thoughts About Method
(These are just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Add the simple syrup to the bottom of a highball glass.
  2. Add some large ice cubes into the glass, as well as blackberries and purple grapes interspersed throughout the ice.
  3. Pour a few oz of tonic water over the ice.
  4. Gently float the gin on top of the tonic.
  5. Garnish with a few additional blackberries and grapes.
  6. Serve with a straw (ideally a purple one!) for mixing and/or for tasting the different layers separately.


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