It’s Friday!  Or should I say Fri-Yay????!!!!  At the end of a long workweek, how many of you are feeling like this:

friday cocktails2

Well, to remedy that feeling, I invite all you Bourbon drinkers out there to join me and see what all the fuss is about! The Black Rose cocktail is an absolute must-try, dark liquor libation for your parched palates. This drink has been a staple in my cocktail rotation for a few months now and I feel like I have totally failed in my duty of spreading the bourbon love to all of you.  Plus, this is the perfect drink to salute the end of a hard work week and herald in the start of a fabulous weekend!

The Black Rose Cocktail
Who also loves whiskey?!

I originally stumbled across this tantalizing tipple in Difford’s Encyclopedic Guide to Cocktails (one of my favorite weekend reads by the way…) and knew I had to test it out immediately. I was definitely not disappointed. Strong and boozy, this drink is not for the weak and is definitely not “girly,” despite the splash of grenadine. Since I truly adored this cocktail and had never heard of it before, I started scouring the internet for some sort of history on this creation, but came up completely empty handed. All I was able to find were a few lack-luster videos and one or two variations on the recipe. Sadly, I can’t tell you who invented this delightful dram or when, but if anyone out there knows more about it, please let me know.

During my internet research on the Black Rose, I discovered that Difford’s version departs from the more standard preparation. He calls for a mix of bourbon and VSOP cognac, whereas the more prevalent version is all bourbon. What both recipes have in common are the splash of grenadine and a mix of Peychaud’s aromatic bitters and Angostura aromatic bitters. Traditionally used in the making of a Sazerac, the Peychaud’s bitters gives the slightest (almost imperceptible) hint of anise, which I believe led Difford to call the Black Rose the “Sazerac like, but easier for the uninitiated.” Having tried both versions of this cocktail, I personally prefer Difford’s over the all bourbon option. I feel the cognac lends a spicy depth missing in the bourbon version and adds a subtle, fruity finish rounded out with a hint of sweetness. I have included recipes for both versions below, so please share your preference in the comments section. Oh, and I beg of you – pretty please with a cherry on top, do yourself a favor and make the grenadine yourself. Homemade grenadine is so easy to make and lasts for weeks and weeks if properly stored in the fridge; you won’t believe the difference it makes in your cocktails. Click here for my preferred grenadine recipe.

The Black Rose Cocktail
Even Ruby and Charlie love the Black Rose!


The Black Rose

Difford’s Version Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Bourbon
  • 1 ounce VSOP Cognac
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s aromatic bitter
  • 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Garnish: lemon zest strip


All Bourbon Version Ingredients:

  • 2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • 3 dashes Peychaud’s aromatic bitters
  • 1 dash Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Garnish:  lemon zest strip


Instructions:  (They are the same regardless of which version you choose.)

  • Using a vegetable peeler, cut a large swath of lemon peel away from the fruit, making sure to avoid any of the bitter, white pith.  (If you have any pith on the zest strip, gently scrape it off with a butter knife.
  • In a well chilled old-fashioned glass, rub the lemon zest strip all along the rim and the bottom of the glass.  Set aside for later use.
  • Pour all ingredients into a separate, ice filled glass and stir vigorously for about 15 seconds.
  • Strain into the prepared, empty old-fashioned glass and garnish with the lemon zest.  Sip, sigh with happiness, and repeat

(If you prefer to enjoy your drinks over ice, I won’t tell anyone…  Just drink it fast because it will be become watered down quickly.)


The Black Rose Cocktail
Soooooo good!!!