Maple Bourbon Blackberries

Are blackberries still available in New York? I don’t know, but it seems doubtful, especially after Irene. What I do know is that nearly a week without internet access didn’t do much for the backlog of preserving recipes I’ve been meaning to share with you. I either need to post every day for a couple of weeks or save some of them for next year. Given the backlog of fruit & vegetables cluttering up my kitchen counters, waiting for their own spot in the preserving spotlight, I think we can guess which it will be.

This particular preserve? Blackberries + brown sugar + bourbon + maple syrup. I haven’t cracked a jar yet, but really, how can you go wrong? Easy-peasy, boozy berry preserves. For our friends in the North who may still have blackberries…

Adapted from Blackberries in Framboise in The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, J. Kingry and L. Devine


Maple Bourbon Blackberries


  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar (organic turbinado)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed (dark muscovado)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp ground or grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup bourbon
  • 2 to 3 lbs blackberries, rinsed and picked over (see Options)


  1. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
  2. Combine all ingredients but the bourbon and blackberries. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and cook at a low boil for 5 – 10 minutes, until syrup thickens slightly.
  3. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, strain out cinnamon stick and grated nutmeg. Add bourbon and bring syrup back to a boil. Add blackberries and simmer for 5 minutes to allow berries to shrink and soften (this helps to prevent fruit float).
  4. Using a slotted spoon, pack berries into hot jars, tamping on the jar a few times to settle berries to a generous 1/2-inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over berries to 1/2-inch headspace; remove any air bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

1 and 1/2 lbs of blackberries yielded 4 half-pint jars.


  1. I had 1 and 1/2 lbs of blackberries on hand, which was just about the 6 cups that the Ball recipe called for. However I had nearly 3 cups of syrup leftover. I suspect with my amount of blueberries I could have made half the amount of syrup; or could have doubled the amount of fruit. Your mileage may vary; but plan on some extra jars and have extra berries on hand just in case.
  2. Brandy, whiskey, rye: it strikes me that any brown liquor will work just fine.


Canned, in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Allow to sit on the shelf for at least 1 month in order to flavors to develop.




  1. Aw man, I just used my blackberries up today! This sounds delicious. (By the way, I got my blackberries from the woods of Western NY last weekend, so they ARE still around in the state).

  2. The last of the blackberries are ripening here in Olympia. Do you think you could do this with frozen berries? I tend to pick a lot, run out of time and wash/freeze them.

    • Hi Jess,

      Sure you could; frozen berries will likely be a little softer when you finally crack the jars, but it should work fine. I would let them thaw completely (overnight in the fridge), collect any juice that is exuded, and bring the total volume to 2 cups with water. Use that in place of the 2 cups water.


  3. Sue

    Hi, I’m in the UK and when I first read this I thought the recipe was referring to a type of rumtopf drink (similar to what I used to make in Germany but with rum and a mixture of berries). Can I ask, what would you serve these with…?

  4. These look outstanding. It has been a banner year for blackberries in our Calif. neighborhood and I have tons of them stashed in my freezer. After I made some more chocolate-blackberry sauce, I believe this recipe will be next up 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Sue

      This recipe looks good, I’ve been picking blackberries and freezing them, so now ready to make some preserves. I wish this one was more of a jam or jelly, it made my mouth water bt the idea of bourbon with the berries. Maybe I will try a hybrid of this as a jelly. Wish me luck!

      Btw: Chocolate-blackberry sauce? Yum… I would like that recipie…..

  5. Leeann

    Having on hand a gift of dark Michigan maple syrup, and, oddly, some extra bourbon, this became imperative. However, we took your lead and cut the syrup recipe in half-and still had a lot as we approached packing time. So we gently installed the berries in the jars, and continued to boil the syrup down to a black, smoky goodness. The jars were packed, and the remaining (yes!) syrup will become part of a dark wintery cocktail. Thanks for so much inspiration!!

  6. Your site is lovely! I just discovered you, and so happy I did, because I wanted something fun with blackberries. I tweaked this recipe a bit and used it for an ice cream topping. (HEAVEN) I’m going to be posting on it on Wednesday and I’ll be linking back to you! Thank you for inspiring me!


  7. Pingback: What I had for dinner on Thursday, November 24, 2011 « laurenisms

  8. Pingback: Maple – Brown Sugar – Bourbon Blackberries | Life Currents

  9. Pingback: A More Cordial Relationship | The Southern Urban Homestead

  10. Sue

    I spoke earlier about a hybrid of this recipe as a jelly, and wanted to report it is awesome. This is what I did.

    I pkg of pectin with 1/2 cup sugar, mix in large pot, add 3 1/2 cups of blackberry juice, 1/2 cup of bourbon and 1/4 cup syrup. Bring to boil and stir at a boil for 1 minute, then add 1 cup dark brown sugar, 2 1/2 cups white sugar. Bring to boil again and stir at boil for 1 minute, take off heat and stir for 5 minutes. Then can it, you should get 6 8oz jars.

    It’s really good !!

  11. just found your site. love it. would like to know where or how you got the lid covers for the maple bourbon blackberries. Am getting ready to make this now as our berries did well this year and this sounds so good.

  12. Karen R

    This sounds so yummy! I’m pretty new to canning, so I have a question. I noticed there is no added acid in the recipe. What makes it safe to water bath can? Is it the alcohol content or are you counting on the acid from the blackberries? Thanks!

    • Hi Karen,

      It’s always good to ask safety questions! In this case, it’s primarily the acidic blackberries that make this safe (i.e. they’d be safe even if you canned them in straight water). The slightly acidic booze just adds an extra layer of safety.

  13. Debi

    Hi Kaela,
    I have this recipe processing right now. Once I started the timer, I started to clear the counter and noticed I still had the two cups of filtered water in the measuring cup. AHHHHH…. I’m new to canning this summer and follow instructions carefully, keeping distractions to a minimum – I have no idea how I managed this fine stunt.

    My question/concern; is this batch ruined or just incredibly strong tasting? Should I freeze the batch or do you think it’s shelf stable?

    I greatly appreciate any guidance you can offer.

    Thanks, Debi

  14. Just found this recipe as I’m looking to make my own homemade jelly for the first time! I have a couple of questions though. First, for boiling did you use a regular pot or a canning pot? Second, can I just put this straight in my fridge when its all done? I want to make my own jam but for immediate use, and give the rest to my family. I’m not really looking to preserve for the following season.

    • Hi Seeking: You can use any heavy-bottomed pot for jam making. I like to use a cast iron Dutch oven, but even a heavy skillet will do. Just make sure you have plenty of room since many jams will foam up. And yes, you can certainly pop it right in the fridge when you’re done – no need to can!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: