We had a request for a signature cocktail in plum and green. Well, I could think of nothing prettier nor more delicious than a blackberry mojito. You can find blackberries and fresh mint in storesyear 'round. A mojito is typically made one or two at a time. If you are serving these in a large dispenser, you will have to strain the mixture so the berries and seeds do not clog the spigot.  You don't have to strain the cocktail if you are serving in a pitcher.

Blackberry mojitos for a crowd


For 2


12 large blackberries

12 mint leaves

4 teaspoons sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

3 ounces light rum (you can substitute vodka if you like)


Club soda

Lime wedge, mint, and blackberries for garnish


Chill two glasses. Put the mint and the berries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker with the sugar. Use a wooden spoon to muddle (bruise) the mint and crush the berries. Add rum, lemon and lime juice. Fill with ice. Shake until well chilled. Put mint leaves in the bottom of the glass. Add ice. Strain the cocktail over the ice. Top with club soda for a little sparkle.


Serves 50 (approx 4 ounce servings)


5-6 pints blackberries plus some for garnish

4 bunches mint leaves plus some for garnish

6 cups sugar

4 cups cold water

1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice

6-7 cups light rum (depending on how strong you want the drinks. This is based on 1 ounce per drink which is light. Add more if you like. You can also substitute vodka if you prefer)


2 bottles of chilled club soda (to taste)


Put the berries in the bottom of a container with the sugar. Use a wooden spoon to crush the fruit. Add the mint and gently muddle to release the essence of the mint. Add 4 cups of water and stir well to make sure the sugar is dissolved completely. Refrigerate and let sit for at least an hour. If you are using a dispenser with a spigot, you will need to strain off the mixture so the skin from the berries and the mint leaves do not clog the dispenser. Add the strained mixture to your dispenser. Add rum, lemon and lime juice. Fill with ice. Stir well. Top off with a bottle of club soda- to taste. Float mint leaves, lime wheels, or blackberries in the dispenser as garnish. Or thread berries onto a cocktail skewer and have those ready in glasses filled with ice. Then guests can help themselves to the beverage.

Martie's Tips: To make this easier, I usually just put the berries, sugar, and water in a large container. Then whir them together with my immersion blender. I strain off the seeds and any flesh remaining and am left with the juice.  

Often, I will chill or even freeze my drinks for a party so I need less ice and the beverages are not as diluted. For this one, you can freeze lime juice or lemon juice into ice cubes and use that in lieu of adding the juice to the recipe.

You can also substitute mint simple syrup instead of using sugar to make this process easier for such a large batch.

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One gracious way to set the tone for a party or a wedding is to serve guests a signature cocktail as they arrive. As a host, having a pre-made cocktail does make bartending duties easier. I love to have a large tray of drinks waiting for guests at the door so they can help themselves and immediately mingle.

For weddings, you can use a signature cocktail to bring some of your heritage or personal style to the party and it does help reduce costs if you serve it in place of a full bar.

The Southern Gentleman cocktail is bourbon, mint, and blackberries with a float of Prosecco on top. This cocktail was crafted for Kathleen & Keith's New Year's Eve wedding in Palm Beach as tribute to the couple's Southern heritage-Kathleen is from New Orleans, her husband Keith is from Jacksonville. Everyone raved about it that night! (Kudos to Aaron's Catering/International Polo Club Palm Beach for crafting it perfectly!) This goes down really easy. Even the non-bourbon drinkers like it!

Martie Duncan Wedding Bar Signage

Because everyone asked for the recipe, Keith asked me to show him how to make it. We recreated it last week at their home. This recipe is for one cocktail but it is easy to make for a big crowd. Instead of muddling the blackberries, I use a stick blender to puree them and then strain. If you don't have a stick blender, you can use a wooden spoon and a mesh sieve to achieve the same results. It just takes longer.

Bourbon mint and blackberry cocktail



1 ounce simple syrup, chilled
4-5 fresh blackberries
4-5 fresh mint leaves, torn
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
Splash of chilled Prosecco

Make a simple syrup using equal parts sugar and water. (Put water and sugar in a sauce pot- stir to combine.  Bring to boil, once it boils remove from heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and let cool completely.

For 1:
Muddle 4-5 fresh or frozen blackberries and 4-5 torn mint leaves in a shaker with an ounce of simple syrup, crushing the berries and bruising the mint.  (I allow to sit for a while to absorb- but you don't have to)

Add 1 1/2 ounces bourbon- we used Buffalo Trace for this recipe.

Shake well. Taste. You may want a bit more simple syrup depending on how sweet the berries are.

Pour over crushed ice and top with a float of chilled Prosecco.

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