Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe

Inspired by a recipe in the September 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine - a slow-burning, sweet and spicy, chile-infused blackberry syrup. It's great in spritzers, cocktails, on toast, in oatmeal, and on and on.

Chile Blackberry Syrup

For those of you with summer blackberries on hand, you must must must try this recipe. It doesn't lake long, and you are left with enough sweet & spicy, chile-infused blackberry syrup to keep your taste buds tingling right into August. I clipped the recipe out of an issue of Gourmet Magazine years ago. Actually, here we go, it was September 2007. I switched up the chiles, made a few other tweaks, and have been using the syrup to spritz up sparkling water all week. It's also great swirled into yogurt, oatmeal, and crème fraîche. Other good ideas: use it to slather on buttered toast, drizzle over goat cheese, and I imagine it'd be a flashy, unexpected offering at any pancake, crepe, or waffle brunch.

Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe

Gourmet highlighted their original version of the syrup alongside a bourbon-based cocktail (Briar Patch recipe here), and a version of a Desert Sunrise (can't find a version of it online). If you think of it as a homemade spicy grenadine, I suspect you can imagine all sorts of cocktail applications. But don't limit it to cocktails, quite frankly, it seems like its uses are boundless. I keep thinking about working it into a cheesecake. You know how Humboldt Fog goat cheese has a thin layer of vegetable ash running through it? What if, using that as inspiration, you had a thin vein of the chile blackberry syrup run through the cream cheese filling - where you'd only see it after slicing into the cake? So the flash is a bit understated and unexpected. Or you could use it in a simple vinaigrette, or as part of a fruit salad. On the savory front, I'm tempted to make a chile blackberry yogurt, and use it to top some lentil soup.

Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe

Anyhow, I'm sure there are a thousand things you could think of here. Let me know if you try anything particular interesting, or find a pairing that works particularly well.

I hope those of you in the U.S. enjoy the long summer weekend and get plenty of sunshine, spritzy drinks, and sparklers.

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Chile Blackberry Syrup Recipe

The original recipe calls for 4 dried pasilla chiles (1 oz). I had guajillo chiles on hand and substituted those. Either way, the resulting syrup is going to pack a good amount of punch. Actually, its more like a slow-motion punch, where - for minutes - the heat smolders and lingers as it moves through your body. I suspect two or two-and-a-half chiles will yield a mild syrup, for those of you weary of too much heat. The syrup keeps covered, and chilled for a few weeks.

4 dried guajillo peppers (1 oz - see head notes)

1 cup / 6 oz / 170g dark Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar

1 cup / 7 oz / 200 g organic sugar
1 1/2 cups / 355 ml water
1/4 cups fresh lemon juice
3/4 cups / 3.5 oz blackberries

Trim the stems from the dried chiles. Tear chiles into pieces and drop (along with seeds) into a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugars, water, and lemon juice, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil, stirring regularly, until the mixture has reduced to 2 cups / 475 ml, roughly 20 - 30 minutes.

In the meantime, puree the blackberries. I used a hand blender in a small bowl, but a standard blender is also an option. Force the berries through a fine-mesh strainer, and discard any seeds. Set the berry puree aside.

Once the chile mixture has reduced, remove from heat, and (carefully) puree it with a hand blender until smooth. Strain through a sieve into a heat-proof bowl. Press on the remaining solids in the strainer to squeeze out any syrup, and discard the remaining solids.

Whisk the berries into the chile syrup and set aside to cool. Place in a jar, or smaller jars, and refrigerate.

Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Adapted from a recipe in the September 2007 issue of Gourmet Magazine, who adapted it from a Junior Merino recipe.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 30 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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We love blackberries and the spicy and sweet combo. Thanks for sharing.

My Kitchen in the Rockies

If you're not a vegetarian, I imagine this syrup would be great brushed on fish before grilling, then made into fish tacos! Heidi, you could make tofu tacos :) I have an obsession with dried chiles-especially guajillos! Must be my Texan roots! And I have a plethora of blackberries, so thanks for the perfect idea!


Wow - looks amazing! What a punchy little number! Love your creativity Heidi. It's making me crave summer - we're right in the thick of winter in Australia.


I can't seem to take my eyes off the photographs you took for this recipe. The color of the blackberries seems to permeate the entire post and also my mind. When I saw it I actually began to salivate. I might just have the syrup Mary Poppin's style - by the spoonful.

The Muse of The Day

I have made something very similar (used some honey, chilis in adobo, kept some of the berries whole) and served it over couscous with seared scallops and some parsley. So tasty!


oh my...that looks amazing. I have a big container of organic blackberries in the fridge and just made some cheesecake tarts today. I had some leftover batter so I poured them into a lined cupcake pan with a gingersnap at the bottom for a crust. I would love to try this syrup drizzled over one of those! On the list... inspiring as always!


Mmmm...this sounds right up my alley. Blackberries + summer go hand in hand in our household. Happy 4th! xo.

my spatula

Sounds like it would be really good on grilled salmon or chicken, not to mention as an ingredient in a vinaigrette! Thanks!


I like the idea of slightly smoky guajillo chili with sweet and tangy blackberries. I also think it would be a great idea to create a two layered cheesecake with this hot syrup running through it. I'm sure it would create a nice surprise in each bite.

Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

This recipe sounds fantastic. Simultaneously complex and simple... If you haven't already thought of this, berry-stained parchment makes beautiful wrapping paper once it has dried!

Georgia Pellegrini

Oh wow, what a great idea!

Simply Life

I would have never thought to make my own syrup from scratch! Thank you for the suggestion! Much better than trying to infuse vodka or gin for cocktails!


I vote for a recipe with cheesecake. It would be gorgeous to look at and eat.

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks

Is it weird that I want to eat those left-behind blackberry seeds? :] This looks and sounds fantastic!

Amber Shea @Almost Vegan

This sounds absolutely fabulous!

Jessica @ How Sweet

Great companion to pork chops I'd expect too.

Anna Aspnes

This recipe sounds so tasty and versatile... I've been on a sweet and spicy kick myself. Can't seem to get enough of the sweet summer berries and a little heat!

Mary @ What's Cookin' With Mary

Sounds yum, the blackcurrants here are ripening quickly in all this hot weather - might give this a try this with them when the glut arrives :)


That sounds fantastic -- I especially love the oatmeal suggestion.


Wow, spicy and sweet, what a lovely combination for blackberry syrup! I never would have thought of this, but your yogurt suggestion sounds absolutely perfect. I'll bet this would work beautifully with peaches too, maybe with a shot of lime juice instead? Yum!

Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

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