Black Cactus cocktail recipe

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The Black Cactus gets its name from the use of blackberry brandy (hence the “black”) and tequila (hence the cactus reference). It’s a fun little drink that you can scale down to shots (just use 1/2 ounce of each ingredient) if you’re so inclined, since that’s a fun way to down this one.

Black Cactus drink with blackberry garnish

The blackberry brandy adds a mellow touch of fruity sweetness, and then the club soda wakes it up with carbonation. Overall, it’s neither particularly fruity nor sweet, but it does have a nice flavor.

But, you may be thinking, you hate blackberry brandy. It tastes medicinal. That’s true of many brands, but you have two options. You can seek out an artisan blackberry brandy, which will have a fresher, less artificial taste. But that may be hard to find. So, option number two is: make your own blackberry brandy. It’s not that hard to do, although it does take up to two months to infuse. But it’s worth it, because then you can enjoy it in other cocktails, like the Jumpin’ Jack Black.

Full-length view of Black Cactus drink with blackberry garnish

This is a great drink to have with a nice dinner. The flavor isn’t overwhelming, so it doesn’t clash with many dishes. But if you want to pair the blackberry notes with something in a dinner entree, try the make your own blackberry brandy from Saveur.

If blackberries are out of season, fear not: frozen blackberries work a treat. That’s what I actually used in the picture here for garnish – thawed under warm water in the sink, they are as good as fresh again.

I used Altos silver tequila, and it’s a brand I really enjoy in a lot of cocktails. It’s pure agave, and leans a little more toward citrus and sweet notes than some brands.

Black Cactus Drink Recipe

  • 1 ounce silver tequila
  • 1 ounce blackberry brandy
  • 1 ounce club soda

Pour the tequila and the brandy at the same time. Top off with club soda. Garnish with blackberries.