Wicked Strong. Has to be the best name ever for a horse, right? If I had money, all of it would be riding on this beaut. I do love the Derby and the traditions surrounding it–the hats, the juleps…but sticking to tradition is not my strongest suit. A girl’s gotta have a Derby drink though, and I’m not traitorous enough to make my Derby drink with anything but bourbon.
A couple months ago, my amazing, gorgeous, talented husband came to me with his take on the old-fashioned. He made it with sage-infused simple syrup, muddled orange, Peychaud bitters instead of the traditional Angostura, and best of all, E. H. Taylor bottled-in-bond 100 proof bourbon. I loved it, but of course I never can leave well enough alone. Plus, citrus season is over and I wanted something more in line with the warmer weather. So, I swapped out the muddled orange for blackberry puree, and voila–the Wicked Strong was born!
Blackberry Sage Old Fashioned – The Wicked Strong
As you see, there is no shortage of sage at our house. We’re using it in everything. I think we may have enough oregano as well.
Start off by dissolving 1 cup of sugar in 1 cup of water in a saucepan on your stove; add the sage after removing from heat and allow to steep 20 minutes.
Muddle 6-8 blackberries in the bottom of a highball glass.
Add 3/4 ounce (or more or less to taste) sage simple syrup.
Add 3 dashes Peychaud bitters (again, more or less to taste).
Add 1-1/2 ounces of quality bourbon, then stir. A heartier bourbon will make a better drink.
Add cracked ice to within 1 inch of rim. Garnish with fresh sage leaf and a berry.
So there you have it–the Wicked Strong! I plan to enjoy one while watching the horse for whom I named this drink run the Derby. Now I’m off to go stare at my hot hubby and his sexy runner’s calves some more…
UPDATE: I started to write this post by saying, “Wicked Strong. Has to be the best name ever for a horse, right? If I had money, all of it would be riding on this beaut.” Then I left my computer and went to the kitchen to check on something on the stove. I then got held up with a phone call and left my computer abandoned. When I returned, this post miraculously had written itself, recipe and all. I thought, maybe I had one too many drinks because I certainly didn’t write this. Then it was there in black and white, “…amazing, gorgeous, talented husband” — uh huh. Keep it up babe and you’ll be cooking your own dinners. Although, you didn’t do a bad job. Cheers!
Mildly sweet with the flavors of golden bourbon, fresh blackberries, and notes of earthy sage, this refreshing cocktail is a delightful twist on the classic old fashioned — a perfect summer cool down.
sage simple syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 ounce (weight) fresh sage, about 15 to 20 leaves
blackberry sage old fashioned
- 6 blackberries
- 3/4 ounce sage simple syrup
- 3 dashes Peychaud bitters
- 1 1/2 ounces quality bourbon
- Cracked ice
- Fresh sage leaf and blackberry for garnish
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine water and sugar; stir. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove from heat and add sage. Allow the sage to steep in the syrup for at least 30 minutes until infused. Remove sage and allow to cool. Sage syrup can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
- In an old fashioned glass, muddle blackberries. Add sage simple syrup, bitters, and bourbon; stir.
- Add cracked ice to within 1 inch of rim. Garnish with a sage leaf and blackberry. Serve.
by Meredith Steele