(Note: this post was originally published on August 8, 2019 and the photos were updated on May 2, 2021. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
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!
This cocktail is really a go-to for us during the spring and summer. I start making it in May, when the weather is getting warm and I have lemon on the mind. But it shines all summer long, and I always return to it in late July, when we have local blackberries. I've even made it using my parents' own blackberry-infused gin, which they make every summer. You'll see numerous generations of photos in this post because I make this drink so darn frequently.
One of the things I love most about this drink is that it can become so many different things. See all the various photos for examples!
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! Conversely, 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. I've made low-alcohol versions of this cocktail numerous times with great success, using just a splash of gin and limoncello, which allows the blackberries and tonic to really shine.
Along these lines, I often make this cocktail customized to-order, allowing people to express their preferences. It comes together quickly, and having all of these options is a really nice way to make sure everyone has something that works for them.
Here's what you'll need for this cocktail, as well as some thoughts about variations. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
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.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
The most perfect summer cocktail! Sweet blackberries, tart limoncello, and floral gin come together for a surprising and super-seasonal cocktail that's wonderful for sipping on the deck all spring and summer long.