The Central Park Cocktail

A bourbon cocktail with a fruity sweetness and a hint of spice.

In July we attended PROOF, a great event put on by the Washington Distillers Guild to highlight craft distilleries in the Pacific Northwest. While the Collective was mainly searching for new whiskies, I was also hoping to find some interesting spirits for making cocktails.

I found what I was looking for at Skip Rock Distillers’ booth. Skip Rock was founded in 2009 and is based out of Snohomish, Washington. They make a good rye whiskey but they also make two other products I love: nocino and blackberry liqueur. Nocino is a liqueur made from unripe green walnuts. It’s a delicate balance of nuts, spice, and fruit. Skip Rock’s blackberry liqueur is not overly sweet and also has hints of spice. They describe it as “blackberry pie without the crust.”

That night I purchased the blackberry liqueur and immediately started experimenting with recipes. The first one I really liked was the Central Park cocktail, a recipe that actually calls for boysenberry liqueur but tastes excellent when made with Skip Rock’s Blackberry Liqueur.

The History

The Central Park cocktail is from the Portobello, an Italian-style vegan restaurant in southeast Portland. Confession: I’ve never been to the restaurant (nor do I plan on ever going to a vegan restaurant) but found the recipe online. I’m not aware of any distillery in the U.S. that’s currently making boysenberry liqueur. However, there are plenty of recipes online if you’re interested in trying the original recipe.

The Recipe

Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass with a large ice cube. No garnish.

The Execution

A few notes on the Central Park:

  • I did not have Bulliet Bourbon but used Jim Beam Black. Most bourbons will work just fine.
  • Ramazzotti Amaro is an Italian liqueur that’s been around since 1815. It has over 33 herbs and spices. The recipe is said to be original and only known by three people. It has notes of orange peel, cinnamon, and cardamom among other things. It plays very well with the blackberry liqueur in this recipe.

It’s encouraging to see the craft distillery movement grow in Washington, not only with whiskey but with other spirits as well. If you can’t make it to an event with multiple distilleries in one place, like PROOF, take some time to visit them on their own. All of the distillers I’ve met are friendly and love discussing spirits, cocktails, and the distillation process.

I will share more recipes made with Skip Rock Blackberry Liqueur in the coming months because this stuff is damn tasty.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below, email, or hit us up on social media. No question is too basic!