Purple Rain (a Cocktail to Honor Prince)


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(Note: this post was originally published on May 20, 2021. It has since been updated with a few tweaks.)

A Purple Rain Cocktail

Floral, fruity, 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. This Purple Rain cocktail is an ode to Prince's amazing music and to his philosophy of universal love and acceptance. The diversity of colors, flavors, shapes, and textures in this purple cocktail all speak to the incredible diversity of Prince's music.

Alternatively, we could also call this summery sip a Blackberry Lavender Gin & Tonic. But whatever we call it, this Prince cocktail is sure to be a hit.

A purple cocktail made with gin to honor the musician Prince

Flavors and Ingredients in this Purple Cocktail

The flavor powerhouse in this Purple Rain cocktail is a blackberry-lavender simple syrup that you can easily make at home (see details in the next section). It's a delightful mix of floral and fruity notes, which echo the complex nature of the botanicals in the gin. This combination creates a light and versatile summer drink.

Another star of this cocktail 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 purple cocktail. I hope you can get your hands on a bottle of this gin, since it's so special and unique. If you can get some, you'll definitely want to check out my Unicorn Cocktail too.

At the risk of stating the obvious, more is more when it comes to a Prince cocktail. Feel free to garnish this drink with anything purple that strikes your fancy including fruits, edible flowers, edible glitter, etc.

Purple Rain cocktail, in honor of Prince and the hit song

How to Make a Simple Syrup

This Prince cocktail relies upon a simple syrup to get all that wonderful lavender flavor into a drinkable form. While you can get blackberries into a cocktail just by muddling, lavender is a very different story; a syrup is essentially the only way to translate that flavor into a liquid. If you've never made a simple syrup before, don't let the fancy name intimidate you; it's easy to do at home.

A simple syrup is just a 1:1 mixture of sugar and water, cooked down until it becomes thick and syrupy. It's a great way to capture flavors that are difficult to get into a liquid form otherwise, like lavender. This is why simple syrup is a very powerful tool in mixology.

The recipe below will walk you through how to make a blackberry lavender simple syrup for this Purple Rain cocktail. But this concept will work for just about anything you can dream up, so don't be afraid to experiment. Herbs, warming spices like cinnamon, and edible flowers all yield wonderful simple syrups.

A purple cocktail garnished with blackberries and purple grapes

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here's what you'll need for this Prince cocktail, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.

  • Blackberries. I've made this simple syrup with both fresh and frozen berries; both work fine, so use what you prefer. Fresh berries definitely make for a prettier garnish though.
  • Lavender
  • Sugar. Simple white sugar is the way to go; brown sugar or coconut sugar will not work because the resulting syrup will look muddy in color.
  • Tonic water. I suggest using a low-sugar tonic water since you'll be adding sweetness through the simple syrup. I love the "Refreshingly Light" tonic from Fever Tree.
  • Empress 1908 Gin. See more detail above on this beautiful spirit. The cocktail will be just as delicious if you can't find it, but it will lack that purple top layer.
  • Garnishes. I like to use blackberries and purple grapes, but more is more for this purple cocktail, so don't be afraid to get creative.

Prince cocktail in honor of the song Purple Rain

Closing Thoughts

The first time I made this Purple Rain cocktail was on 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 fun cocktail, so do Prince proud and make it super special and celebratory.

Purple Rain cocktail made with gin

Share It!

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.

As with all my cocktail recipes, please enjoy responsibly!

Suggested Pairings

Green Goddess Hummus

Summer Grilled Corn, Strawberry, and Avocado Salad

Vegan Watermelon, Snap Pea, and Mint Salad

Rainbow Vegan Chopped Salad

Blueberry Lemon Tahini Oat Flour Blender Cake

Disclosure: I received free product from Empress 1908 Gin. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.

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.

Leave a Comment

Please Share Your Thoughts!

Did you make this recipe? Did you make substitutions? How did you serve it? Any helpful tips? Please share your thoughts, since these insights are really useful to both me and to other readers.

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July 30, 2021
Seductive!! The perfect ode to Prince. Love all the purple ingredients.