Sparkling Blackberry Mint Julep

Sparkling Blackberry Mint Julep

May 3, 2013

I lived in the South for many years and while I can’t brag about having been to the Kentucky Derby, I can say I’ve driven through that part of the country during our moves and it is amazingly beautiful. Wide, rolling expanses of green grass are accentuated with white fences that stretch for miles. You can imagine in the distance a scene I’ve only seen played out through the small screen; that array of genteel Southern folks, dressed as if stepping back in time and all congregated to watch a spectacular of speed, grace and beauty that I don’t believe is matched anywhere. I have always loved  horses; seeing them run in the Derby is one of the most exhilarating experiences I know; I can only imagine how fabulous it must be to be there. I have the perfect hat, it’s wide flowing brim just waiting for that moment when the invitation comes!

In the Meantime…

In lieu of waiting for my horse to pass by, I’ve been invited often to Kentucky Derby parties. Which means food and drink and nothing is more quintessentially a Derby drink than the Mint Julep. So southern; so sweet; so good. To stay true to form, I used my Wild Turkey whiskey from Kentucky as a nod to the roots of this cocktail but I veered pretty far off the path after that. Mint Julep’s are good all by themselves but I’m not sure they are blog worthy…how many blogs do you need to tell you to mix sugar, bourbon and mint anyhow? So; I got clever (or so I think!) and decided to add not only a fruity touch but a fizzy one as well with the addition of some fresh blackberries and a wonderful Prosecco from Ogio Wines.

ogio-with-glassDid we love this? Big time. The addition of blackberries was so perfect; enough tartness to temper the sugar but not enough to change the overall composition of the drink. The Ogio Prosecco was just perfect; I enjoyed not only the bubbly but that one addition made the drink more festive and maybe a bit less ‘boozy’ and I liked it. A lot.

Tasting Notes

The Ogio Prosecco offers a delicate yet complex bouquet with fruity notes of peach and green apple. It is fresh and light on the palate with balanced acidity and a long, lingering finish. I found it both ideal on it’s own and the perfect compliment in this drink. The added combination of Prosecco and blackberries was very well received; both added a fresh and fruity flavor to this classic warm weather cocktail.


I struggled a bit deciding whether to post something today that would be fitting for just The Kentucky Derby or wondered if I should also offer up something for Cinco de Mayo on Sunday. You can see what won…but then I remembered that I put together a compilation of some great Cinco de Mayo dishes and cocktails last year that is still a great resource for those festivities. Whew!! As for this? I’ll have some ready tomorrow for the big race; you coming over?

Sparkling Blackberry Mint Julep
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 2 cocktails
  • Small ice cubes (I get mine from Sonic; they sell ice by the bag)
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • 4 tablespoons mint leaves torn in half
  • 2 Tbsp simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar brought to boil just enough to melt sugar; cooled)
  • 3 ounces bourbon
  • Prosecco or other sparkling wine
  • Mint sprigs and blackberries for garnish
  1. Fill a julep or small rocks glass overflowing with ice cubes.
  2. In a shaker, muddle the blackberries, mint leaves and simple syrup.
  3. Add 1 cup of ice cubes and bourbon to the shaker and shake well. Strain the drink into the glass filling it ¾ full.
  4. Finish filling the glass with the Prosecco, gently stir to combine.
  5. Gently press on the mint leaves for garnish to release their aroma before putting a bunch into each cocktail; finish with a blackberry and serve with a short straw.
2014 Kentucky Derby Cocktail is a Honey Peach Mint Julep; another winner!

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Feliz Durand July 25, 2014 at 3:30 am

Nice coktails


2 Elaine March 20, 2014 at 11:59 am

I’m thirsty now! I love blackberries..made a Blackberry Kombucha not too long ago and it turned out fantastic!
Elaine Most Recent Post: SXSW 2014: Justin Bieber at Bangers


3 Creative Culinary March 21, 2014 at 4:51 am

I’ve always sipped just a regular mint julep; after making that blackberry one I’m sold on adding fruit to one; it really was terrific.


4 Matthew Horbund - mmwine January 4, 2014 at 11:37 am

What a refreshing and delicious cocktail. And of course, you make it look amazing!
Matthew Horbund – mmwine Most Recent Post: Malbec and Meatloaf – Pairing Trivento Malbec Reserve 2012


5 Laquanda Derk May 28, 2013 at 8:00 am

Well, well, felt like Paris for me, awesome.


6 Paula May 15, 2013 at 7:38 am

Beautiful presentation of a lovely drink. Was hoping that Rosie Napravnik would have won the Derby but think it is awesome that she and her horse Mylute did come in fifth! Cheers to that :)
Paula Most Recent Post: 121 Random Acts of Kindness – In Memory of Randy


7 Creative Culinary May 15, 2013 at 8:35 am

I’ll cheer with you; I had no winner in mind so would have been happy to pull for your favorite horse!


8 JJ - 84thand3rd May 8, 2013 at 6:50 pm

I love what you’ve done with this!! I’d take one of these any day over the original :)
JJ – 84thand3rd Most Recent Post: High Tea at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Hotel


9 Creative Culinary May 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

It is so much better…while I’ve like them OK, I LOVED this! I thought them both a bit too sweet and a bit too strong with the bourbon; the blackberries and the sparkling wine were great ‘fixers.’ :)


10 Hannah May 8, 2013 at 10:43 am

You’ve outdone yourself with this one, Barb! Love the addition of Prosecco and blackberries – inspired. I’m making these for Mother’s Day!
Hannah Most Recent Post: Sam’s Gazpacho


11 Creative Culinary May 8, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Yeah! You won’t be disappointed; they are fresh and so good…I like them much better than the original. Enjoy Mom’s day Hannah!


12 bakeca imperia May 8, 2013 at 3:29 am



13 Jayne May 5, 2013 at 2:52 pm

This is one of the prettiest cocktails I’ve seen! It sounds wonderful.


14 Creative Culinary May 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Thanks so much Jayne; sometimes I make one I love more than others and this did fit that bill! Silver cups don’t hurt probably right? :)


15 Wendy Read May 5, 2013 at 9:02 am

The photo is absolutely stunning Barb! I really want to try this one, I have blackberries in the kitchen most all year long too :)


16 Creative Culinary May 5, 2013 at 7:29 pm

Please do…so refreshing and I loved how the blackberries made it not quite so sweet. Perfect even!


17 Maria@pinkpatisserie May 4, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I so love a mint julep and this is definitely a perfect addition! Beautiful!


18 Creative Culinary May 5, 2013 at 8:12 am

Thank you Maria; we just loved it.


19 Daniela Silva May 4, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Amazing drink , so fresh and delicious , We can’t go wrong with this amazing drink. A must try.


20 Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen May 4, 2013 at 2:58 am

I love everything about this! How can you go wring with Prosecco and blackberries?!
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen Most Recent Post: Pea, Mint and Feta Fritters with Yogurt Mint Dipping Sauce (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free)


21 Creative Culinary May 5, 2013 at 8:04 am

Isn’t that the truth Sylvie? It was pretty perfect.


22 Holly May 3, 2013 at 6:51 pm

Yup, I’m coming over! This looks refreshing and relaxing — simply perfect for a day at the races. Have you been to the horse track here in Denver? A far, far cry from Kentucky but still something different to do now and then.
Holly Most Recent Post: Basic Focaccia for #TwelveLoaves May


23 Creative Culinary May 5, 2013 at 8:04 am

I haven’t been to them here but I did go to some races when I was younger and lived in St. Louis; they were so disappointing; more seedy than spectacular so guess I’ve never been interested. We should do a girls day out at the races! :)


24 Maureen | Orgasmic Chef May 3, 2013 at 6:49 pm

That drink is beautiful. I’ve never been to the derby either but I did get a private tour of the place on a visit years ago. Steeped in tradition over there!
Maureen | Orgasmic Chef Most Recent Post: In My Kitchen


25 john@kitchenriffs May 3, 2013 at 5:45 pm

Oh, I think the world can always use another post about Mint Juleps! ;-) Really nice variant you did – I’ve never had bourbon and bubbly of any kind, and really should just to see what it’s like. Aren’t mint leaves so much fun to shoot when lit from behind? Great photos and drink – thanks so much.
john@kitchenriffs Most Recent Post: The Mint Julep


26 Creative Culinary May 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

Probably right John…heck I love to do other classics although I realize I’m sharing more about the history than actually how to make the cocktail. I experiment a bit more with bubbly than I ever have. I used to just use it for mimosas but it livens up a lot of other cocktails too!


27 Karen Harris May 3, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I am not a big fan of mint unless it is in ice cream or mixed with yogurt, but I might be won over with this drink. I’m sure it tastes as beautiful as it looks. Yum.
Karen Harris Most Recent Post: Guest Post From Haley at Cheap Recipe Blog: Chinese Chicken Salad


28 Creative Culinary May 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I do believe this could make a convert of you! It was just delicious. Yes, I said delicious. :)


29 Nancy@acommunaltable May 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I definitely love those additions Barb and will have to keep that Prosecco in mind for the summer! Wish we lived closer so I could come and join you for one of these!


30 Liz N. May 3, 2013 at 1:04 pm

Where did you find your sterling silver mugs for the Mint Juleps? I have wanted a pair forever!


31 Liz N. May 3, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Also, what a great idea to purchase your ice from Sonic!!! I had no idea they sell ice by the bag. I will do that for this beverage. BRILLIANT. You learn something new everyday!


32 Creative Culinary May 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I got them from Amazon Liz. They are small but were perfect. Here’s the link:

One of my secrets that will be a secret no more! But I refuse to use refrigerator ice. Those half moon cloudy shapes do nothing for a cocktail photo so I find ice that works better from all over. Some I make but I love the Sonic stuff for a lot of applications.


33 Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen May 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Heck, ya! I definitely want to join you! :) B, this is just marvelously brilliant. I adore bourbon and blackberry almost anything. The perfect berry for this cocktail! And, I love that you went for some bubbly action with the Ogio Prosecco. Must try this! By the way…lived in Lexington, KY for 2 years and my inner Southern Belle LOVED IT there! The Big Lug and I moved there due to Toyota Motor Manufacturing being a high-profile client in nearby Georgetown, KY. Did lots of day trips (so much to see!) and even went caving. Also, went to Keeneland for the horse races. LOVED IT! Thanks again for another swell Cocktail Friday with Barb of CC! xoxo
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen Most Recent Post: Coconut Ginger Lime Margarita


34 Creative Culinary May 3, 2013 at 1:13 pm

It is so beautiful there isn’t it? I struggled with the ‘less green’ aspect of Denver but now I could not leave the ‘less humid’ one! Have a great weekend Stacy!


35 Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen May 4, 2013 at 9:34 am

Oh, B…totally loved Kentucky. We both did, but hubby suffers from allergies to ragweed and the State Flower of KY is the Goldenrod, LOL. People were awesome. Oh, yes…The Big Lug once interviewed in Denver. He didn’t like it at all. (Not to mention his mountain sickness and had to scarf down lots of bananas for potassium and drink a ton of water, LOL!) He said Denver was “very grey”. Needless to say, we decided to stay here in Indy. Thank you! You have a great weekend, too!
Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen Most Recent Post: Coconut Ginger Lime Margarita


36 Creative Culinary May 5, 2013 at 8:11 am

I think Denver was more of a shock because our realtor only took us to new homes which is why, when I settled after a divorce, I HAD to buy a place a bit older just for the trees. Truth though? Denver is hardly gray; we have way too much sunshine for me to have ever aligned it with that color! I’m from the Midwest and while MO and IN are greener and more lush; I would not trade now for that if it meant going back to humidity; I love dining outside far too much. In a yard with trees. :)


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