London in the 1980s wasn’t exactly a hot spot of cocktail culture.
Enter a young, optimistic fellow named Dick Bradsell who thought that the drinks world could stand to be shaken up a bit. We can thank Bradsell not only for singlehandedly revolutionized London drinking, but he gave the world one of the most exquisite gin drinks there is. Meet the Bramble, a bright, gently fruity gin drink that signaled the beginning of the bartender’s lover affair with blackberries.
Blackberries have always been around in one form or another, mainly in liqueurs like Crème de Mûre, which is what Bradsell used in his Bramble to give it its distinctive character. Today, bartenders often source local blackberries, usually muddling them for an added sweet-tart tang in drinks. Below, you’ll find the original Bramble and some modern cocktails that capitalize on this luscious berry.
Based on Dick Bradsell’s Classic Recipe
- 2 oz. Plymouth Gin
- 1 oz. Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
- 1/2 oz. Crème de Mûre
- Blackberries for Garnish
Preparation: Shake the gin, lemon juice, and simple syrup with ice and strain into a collins-style glass. Top with crushed ice and gently float crème de mûre on top. Garnish with blackberries.
It Happened One Night
Courtesy of the Saddle Peak Lodge, Los Angeles
- 1 oz. Meyer’s Dark Rum
- 1 oz. Amaro Nonino
- 1/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
- 4 Blackberries
- 1/2 Orange Slice
- Topped off with Ginger Beer
- Lime Twist, for Garnish
Preparation: Muddle blackberries and orange slice. Add other ingredients. Shake and strain into a highball glass with Ice. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime twist.
Created by Russell Thomas, Barman, Alley Lounge, Los Angeles
- 2 oz. Vodka (Gin works well here too)
- 1/2 oz. Elderflower Liqueur
- 3/4 oz. Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup (or less depending on the sweetness/tartness of the berries)
- 5 Blackberries
- 1 Raspberry
Preparation: Muddle 2-3 Blackberries (depending on size) and 1 raspberry. Add ice, shake, and double strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with two Blackberries on a spike.
Courtesy of Sarah Santos, Mirbeau Inn & Spa at the Pinehills, Plymouth, Mass.
- 2 oz. Hendrick’s Gin
- 5 oz. Homemade Lemonade (1 part fresh lemon juice, 1 part water, 1 part simple syrup)
- 7 Blackberries
- 2 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
Preparation: Muddle 4 blackberries in a cocktail shaker, and add gin and lemonade. Shake with ice and strain over fresh thyme into a highball glass of fresh ice. Garnish with a thyme skewer of remaining fresh blackberries.