Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Tequila & Mezcal Cocktails

Black Widow

red-hued Black Widow cocktail in a stemless cocktail glass, garnished with skewered blackberry and basil leaf
Image: / Tim Nusog

Black Widow may leave you thinking about creepy, crawly spiders. Or a Marvel movie starring Scarlett Johansson. But take one sip of this cocktail, and it may change your associations forever. Because this Black Widow combines tequila, lime juice and agave nectar (so, the makings of a good Margarita) with fresh blackberries—hence the name—and basil leaves. Lest you were concerned, it gets its bite from that blanco tequila, not venom.

The recipe comes from Duggan McDonnell, a San Francisco bartender and the author of “Drinking the Devil’s Acre: A Love Letter from San Francisco and Her Cocktails.” He begins by muddling the blackberries and basil in a shaker, releasing the former’s juices and the latter’s sweet herbal qualities. This step not only provides a punch of fresh flavor, but it also produces the drink’s bright-red color.

Choose your favorite tequila for this cocktail, but make sure you select a blanco rather than a reposado or añejo. The dry, peppery, earthy profile of an unaged blanco props up the drink with a solid backbone and merges perfectly with the sweet berries and tart lime. On the other hand, a tequila that spent time in barrels would feature oaky accents like vanilla and caramel, which you don’t want in this drink.

Shake everything together with ice, strain the refreshing contents into your glass and don’t forget the fresh basil and blackberry garnish for the full effect. This is one Black Widow whose bite brings pleasure, not pain.


  • 3 basil leaves

  • 2 blackberries

  • 1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila

  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar

  • Garnish: basil leaf

  • Garnish: blackberry


  1. In a shaker, muddle the basil leaves and blackberries.

  2. Add the tequila, lime juice and agave nectar with ice, and shake until well-chilled.

  3. Strain into a stemless cocktail glass over fresh ice.

  4. Garnish with a basil leaf and a blackberry on a skewer.