The Western Rim [Cocktail Recipe]

This cocktail was created by Brett Helke, wine and beverage director at Toast and Perro Blanco in Norfolk, Virgina. Every sip of this crisp, peppery drink is refreshing, thanks to the mint in the bottom of the glass.


  • 9 to 11 mint leaves
  • ¾ oz. blackberry-peppercorn shrub (recipe below)
  • ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1½ oz. Elijah Craig Small Batch (or other Kentucky straight bourbon)
  • Prosecco or sparkling lambrusco
  • Fresh blackberry for garnish


In a Collins or double Old Fashioned glass, gently muddle 8-10 mint leaves and blackberry peppercorn shrub. Add lemon juice, bourbon, and a few ice cubes. Stir gently. Fill the glass completely with ice cubes and top with prosecco or lambrusco. Garnish with remaining mint leaf and blackberry.

Try this: Make the same cocktail with a base of gin, tequila, or mezcal, or skip the whisky and swap club soda for the prosecco.

Blackberry-Peppercorn Shrub

  • 1 cup fresh blackberries
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup fruit-forward red wine (e.g. cabernet or merlot)
  • 2 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt

In a blender, blend blackberries, apple cider vinegar, and wine. Strain thorough a fine mesh sieve to make sure no seeds get into the shrub. In a small pot or sauté pan, toast peppercorns on medium-high heat until fragrant (about 30 to 45 seconds). Reduce temperature to low. Add blackberry-vinegar mixture, sugar, and salt. Gently stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a jar and steep for 24 to 48 hours, to your taste. Strain out peppercorns. Keep refrigerated in a glass container for up to a month.

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