“Blackjack” Cocktail Recipe


Written by Anthony

Director of Exquisite Cocktails.com, I enjoy pushing boundaries in my professional and personal life. Exploring new ideas, finding out how things work and looking to innovate and expand on the idea. I enjoy working with people and completing projects that stay in peoples memories.

August 27, 2013

A few years ago, whilst working in one of the more prestigious bars that I have been employed by over the years, I found myself confronted with a challenge from a customer. This gentleman stood and looked over the whole of the cocktail menu for quite some time before closing it and questioning why he could rarely ever find a recipe that used his favourite spirit? Obviously my next question was to ask what his favourite spirit was. I was confronted with the response “black Sambuca”. Not shy of a challenge I confidently said “leave that with me Sir, I’ll bring your drink over shortly.”

As I turned and looked at the bottle of ‘Opal Nera’ that we served as our house Sambuca, all sorts of ideas starting going through my mind. I decided to keep the drink simple however. I started with some raspberry puree and Chambord, pouring both into a shaker, about 25ml of each. I then added about 30ml of the Sambuca, not wanting to overpower the drink but wanting it to be the prominent flavour. Once I gave these a shake and tasted it I was reasonably pleased. There was obviously something more needed though to soften the harsh alcoholic flavours. Once lengthened with cloudy apple juice I concluded that I had created something I wasn’t ashamed of serving. Thankfully the customer agreed.

The following day I decided to refine the recipe: swapping the raspberry puree for fresh raspberries, and adding some fresh muddled Granny Smith apple for a slightly sour bite. Serving the drink long in a Catalina, and garnishing with an apple fan, and whole star anise I decided I was finally happy. This is still a drink that I will proudly serve today.


  • Muddle 6 fresh Raspberries, ¼ Granny Smith Apple
  • 25ml Chambord
  • 50ml Cloudy Apple Juice
  • Shake hard over cubed ice
  • In a Catalina:
  • Fill with crushed ice
  • 30ml Opal Nera
  • Double strain raspberry, apple, Chambord and apple juice on top so the drink layers.


  • Apple Fan
  • Whole Star Anise

You May Also Like…