Purple Rain (a Cocktail to Honor Prince)

This whimsical purple cocktail is an ode to Prince and his song Purple Rain. It's essentially a blackberry lavender gin & tonic, but with all the Prince flair.


For the Blackberry Lavender Simple Syrup

  • Large handful of blackberries
  • 1 tbsp lavender
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c granulated white sugar

For the Cocktail

  • 0.5 oz blackberry-lavender simple syrup
  • 2-3 blackberries
  • 2-3 purple grapes
  • 3 oz low-sugar tonic water
  • 2 oz Empress 1908 Gin
  • Blackberries and purple grapes for garnish


  1. To make the simple syrup, combine the blackberries and lavender with the water and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a low boil. Use a fork to carefully smash each berry so that it releases its colorful juice. Boil until the mixture has reduced significantly and turned a dark pink-purple color. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon; keep an eye on it and don't let it go too far.
  2. Strain the simple syrup through a fine-mesh sieve to remove all of the berry seeds and bits of lavender.
  3. Put the simple syrup in a jar or container and chill it for at least several hours.
  4. Add the simple syrup to the bottom of a highball glass.
  5. Add some large ice cubes into the glass, as well as blackberries and purple grapes interspersed throughout the ice.
  6. Pour a few oz of tonic water over the ice.
  7. Gently float the gin on top of the tonic, allowing the layers to mix partially but not completely.
  8. Garnish with a few additional blackberries and grapes.
  9. Serve with a straw (ideally a purple one!) for mixing and/or for tasting the different layers separately.