Throw a devilish adult Halloween party with this Blackberry El Diablo cocktail. This fruity twist on the classic cocktail combines fresh blackberry syrup with reposado tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and ginger beer. Mocktail variation provided.
This sip is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy, and its vibrant red hue makes for an extra festive presentation as a Halloween cocktail. Originally sponsored by California Giant Berry Farms in 2017, we have updated this recipe and post after the promotional period to best serve our current readers.
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What You’ll Need to Make a Blackberry El Diablo Cocktail
The base of the classic El Diablo cocktail is tequila, crème de cassis (black currant liqueur), and lime. It’s shaken, poured over ice, and topped with spicy ginger beer.
For a fun twist on the recipe, I decided to replace the sweet crème de cassis with fresh blackberry syrup and added a splash of Triple Sec. To make this cocktail, you’ll need:
- Fresh blackberries. Both for making the syrup and garnishing the cocktail.
- Granulated sugar. To macerate the berries for the syrup.
- Reposado tequila. This “rested” tequila is aged in wooden (usually, oak) barrels for anywhere from 2 months to a year, giving it a more complex flavor than un-aged blanco. (365 days of aging or longer moves the tequila to “anejo” territory.) Reposado tequila is smooth, has a light amber color and, depending on the bottle, develops lightly caramelized, smoky, vanilla, and/or peppery notes. For the Blackberry El Diablo, I like to use Espolòn, which complements the fruity flavors well.
- Triple sec. Brings a hint of orange to the drink.
- Lime juice. Adds a touch of brightness and acidity for balance.
- Ginger beer. A lightly carbonated beverage made with ginger root, water, and sugar, ginger beer adds a nice bite to the cocktail. Compared to ginger ale, the flavor is less sweet, spicier with more prominent ginger notes, and crisper. My favorite is the Fever Tree brand.
- Ice. Both for shaking the cocktail and serving.
How to Make the Blackberry Syrup
Blackberry simple syrup is a cinch to make. Just as in my Blackberry-Lemon Mint Juleps, I macerate the blackberries with sugar to draw out their juices.
Simply place the berries in a bowl, toss with sugar, and let stand for about 45 minutes. Give it a stir every 15 minutes or so. The sugar will naturally break down the fruit and create a rich syrup with their natural juices.
After the juices have released, simply strain the syrup, pressing on the berries in the sieve with a spatula or the back of a spoon. You’ll get about 1/2 cup of syrup using 1/2 pint of berries and 1/4 cup of sugar.
As you’ll only need 2 tablespoons of blackberry syrup for one cocktail, refrigerate the leftovers in a covered container for 3-4 days. You can use it to add a sweet flavor boost to a number of cocktails and mocktails. Try stirring the syrup into carbonated water for a refreshing homemade blackberry soda.
Mixing and Serving the Cocktail
To make the cocktail, fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the syrup, tequila, lime juice, and triple sec. Cover and shake until frosty.
Fill your highball with fresh ice and strain the cocktail into the glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with blackberries. If I have time, I like to pop the berries into the freezer for a couple of hours before serving for a frosted look. (Lay them in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. They’ll be frozen solid in 2-3 hours.)
Making a Blackberry El Diablo Mocktail
Turning this Halloween cocktail into a mocktail is easy with some of the non-alcoholic botanicals and liquor alternatives on the market today. To make the swap, I recommend using Lyre’s Orange Sec Non-Alcoholic Spirit for the Triple Sec, and Ritual Zero Proof Tequila Alternative.
While ginger beer was originally crafted as an alcoholic beverage in 18th century England, most versions sold today are non-alcoholic. Keep in mind that there are alcoholic ginger beers on the market, such as Crabbies, so if you’re making this a mocktail, be sure to read the labels.
More of our Favorite Fruity Cocktails and Mocktails
Blackberry El Diablo
- 1/2 pint blackberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 ounces Reposado tequila (3 tablespoons), such as Espolon
- 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice (1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 ounce Triple sec (1 tablespoon)*
- 1 ounce blackberry syrup (2 tablespoons)
- 2-3 ounces ginger beer , such as Fever Tree
Make the Syrup
- Rinse berries and leave damp. Toss in a bowl with sugar. Let sit for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve, pressing on berries with the back of a spoon to fully release juices. You should have about 1/2 cup blackberry syrup.**
Make the Cocktail
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and blackberry syrup. Cover and shake.
- Strain into a glass filled with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with fresh blackberries.