What IS that flavor?

When done right, black pepper can be a perfectly elusive cocktail ingredient. Like its cousin, salt, it adds a depth of flavor and layer of interest to a drink. And when done well, it can seem nearly impossible to figure out what “that” flavor is.

This Collins is a perfect example of this effect. A simple variation with a blackberry syrup would have been delicious – but Chris chose to add that subtle extra element of heat and it was the perfect finish.


When using black pepper in cocktails, be careful. A lot goes a long way, especially when infused with spirits, or infused in a syrup over heat. It adds a beautiful background warmth when added in moderation. Of course if you’re looking for a downright spicy cocktail – by all means, go to town!

This drink is fruity and a little bit sweet, but it’s rounded out perfectly by the herbal notes of the gin and the slow, low pepper heat. It’s not a “flat” flavor at all – all thanks to a tiny bit of pepper.

Blackberry and Black Pepper Collins

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  • 1.5 oz London Dry Gin Tanqueray
  • .75 oz Blackberry and Black pepper syrup
  • .50 oz Lime Juice
  • 4 oz Soda Water Q Drinks

Blackberry and black pepper Syrup

  • 280 grams Blackberries
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 150 grams water
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper


  • Combine gin, syrup and lime juice into a boston shaker.
  • Add ice and shake to chill and dilute
  • Fine strain into a collins glass filled with fresh ice
  • Top with soda water and garnish with a lime wheel

Blackberry and Black pepper syrup

  • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low boil
  • Muddle Blackberries (I used a potato masher)
  • Allow to boil until syrup is reduced by a third
  • Fine Strain and add a pinch of freshly cracked black pepper
  • Allow mixture to cool before use