Y’all, I’ve really been stepping up my cocktail game this summer. It all started a few years when I decided that vodka went down a little too easy and reminded me waaay too much of college, so I started trying out different spirits. It didn’t take long for whiskey to become my new drink of choice and my love affair with old fashioneds began. I love trying out new whiskies and they each have their own flavor and depth. They are also perfect for sipping, which is way more my style nowadays 🙂
My friend JJ asked me to help out with her sister’s bachelorette party a few weeks ago. She suggested a cocktail making class so I got my wheels turning. I reached out to Treaty Oak, a local distillery, that produces some of my favorite spirits to partner with us. First off, the thought of teaching 17 girls how to make cocktails was a teensy bit intimidating. Seriously, like what if I mess it all up or someone is allergic to strawberries or the awful dreaded one vocal person doesn’t like something so then everyone else’s opinions get swayed, yikes! Well, obviously I got over those fears and started getting really excited about making some new cocktails that I thought would be perfect for a girls day at the pool!
I decided to try whiskey and gin for my spirits, even though I knew vodka would be a crowd pleaser for a bunch of ladies, I wanted to show them some of the spirits that I love! Spoiler alert: they loved them! Woohoo! Success. The foodie in me wanted something super colorful and seasonal, enter watermelon and blackberries! Plus, lots of fresh herbs…because they smell so dang good!
With the help of JJ, it was pretty easy to whip up some fresh watermelon juice and blackberry smash. You can buy these at most grocery stores if you’re in a pinch, but I suggest making it yourself if you can! Nothing beats fresh, you really can tell a difference and without all the preservatives and extra sugar, the spirits shine through and make for a better cocktail experience IMO. Plus, just take a look at those gorgeous colors! You drink with your eyes first, so make it look good! If you are making these for a group, make the juices the night before and store in the fridge. The rest is pretty easy to whip up after that. Your guests will surely thank you 🙂
- 9 ounces Treaty Oak Waterloo Gin
- 12 ounces fresh watermelon juice
- 3 ounces simple syrup (optional- watermelons are pretty sweet this time of year, but if you love sweet, go ahead and throw it in there)
- 9 ounces mineral water (I use Topo Chico)
- 3 ounces fresh lime juice
- 6 fresh basil leaves and watermelon slices for garnish
1) Prep the watermelon juice. You can buy it from the store, or make it like I did! Take about half a small watermelon and put the flesh into a blender. Blender for about 30 seconds. Then strain the pulp and keep the juice cold in the fridge.
2) Combine watermelon juice, gin, mineral water, simple syrup (optional) and lime juice in a pitcher and keep cold until read to serve.
3) In each glass, put a fresh basil leaf and give it a good swirl. Before adding the basil leaf, give it a good smack between your hands to “wake it up” or express some of the oils in the leaf. Garnish with a watermelon slice and serve cold!
Blackberry Bourbon Smash
- 9 ounces Treaty Oak Red Handed Bourbon Whiskey
- 6 ounces fresh smashed blackberries
- 3 ounces simple syrup
- 6 ounces mineral water (I used Topo Chico)
- 6 lemon wedges
- Fresh mint for garnish
1) Make the blackberry juice. Blend about 12 blackberries into a blender, add a splash of water if needed to get things going. Strain the seeds out and what you have left is the pulp!
2) Combine bourbon, blackberry smash, simple syrup and mineral water. Keep cold.
3) Serve liquid over crushed ice. Garnish with lemon wedge and mint. Extra blackberries are always good if you have those too!