The Bramble is a classic that must be part of your repertoire. A refreshing gin cocktail with lemon juice, sugar syrup, Crème de Mûre and crushed ice. If you don’t happen to have blackberry liqueur I have provided an instant homemade version!
You will also love… my Blueberry Gin Sour
Ahhh the days before kids when I was able to go out for cocktails in London on a weeknight and perfectly capable of rising early the next day for work… The Bramble used to be among my favourite cocktails to order in those bygone days.
Nowadays I tend to mix my own cocktails at home, but I still love gin cocktails and this British drink, invented by the late, great, bartender Dick Bradsell deserves to be a modern classic.
What’s in a Bramble cocktail?
The Bramble is basically a variation on The Sour, one of the most useful cocktail recipes you should know. Because it’s much more than a recipe, it’s actually a formula that’s the backbone of many beloved cocktails like the Margarita and the Pisco Sour.
A Sour Cocktail is made up of 50ml (scant 2 fl oz or just shy of ¼ cup) of your favourite spirit (gin, bourbon, tequila etc), one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice (or lime juice) and a scant tablespoon of sugar syrup.
The only spin the Bramble offers on this winning formula is the addition of Crème de Mûre (blackberry liqueur) and crushed ice. The Crème de Mûre is poured over a gin sour where it sinks into the drink creating a pretty effect. Take a look at this post which contains a round up of gins you could use in this recipe.
How to make a Bramble Cocktail
STEP 1. Put the gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake hard for 30 seconds.
STEP 2. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
STEP 3. Pour the blackberry liqueur over the top without mixing to create a bleeding effect.
STEP 4. Decorate with a lemon twist or fresh blackberries if in season.
What if I don’t have Crème de Mûre?
I have to admit that not many people do! You can substitute with Cassis which is a little more common. But it’s just as easy to create your own instant version if it’s blackberry season.
Simply muddle a handful of fresh blackberries with sugar (or sugar syrup) and gin or vodka, and voila! A few summers ago I made a bottle of flavoured vodka just for mixing Bramble cocktails.
Put 1/2 cup fresh blueberries in a large clean jar and add 2 tbsp sugar syrup (or sugar). Mix together then fill the jar with vodka. Put in the fridge, turning the jar over every day. After a week, strain the vodka and keep for mixing into cocktails.
How to make crushed ice for cocktails
These days it’s fairly easy to buy bags of crushed ice for cocktails. But it’s just as easy to make your own crushed ice. Blitzing ice in a blender is an option, but this tends to crush the ice too much. If the ice is crushed too small it will melt quickly and your cocktail will be watered down in no time!
A better way is to put plenty of ice cubes in the middle of a clean lint-free tea towel. Close up the towel around the ice and use a rolling pin to crush it. You want the ice to be in smallish but irregular pieces.
Slimming World Cocktail?
Ever since I started on the Slimming World plan I became hyper-aware of how many SYNS are hiding in my beloved cocktails.
A Bramble contains 50ml of gin which is 6 syns. The blackberry liqueur is probably an extra syn (it’s only 10 ml). If you make your own sugar syrup with sweetener you can avoid any additional syns. Call it 7 syns? Not ideal, but not as bad as some sweeter cocktails.
See the recipe notes below for how to make homemade sugar-free simple syrup. It takes less than five minutes to throw together and will keep for a week in the fridge.
Love gin cocktails? Here’s some to try
- 100 ml | 3 ½ fl oz (scant 1/2 cup) gin
- 50 ml | 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp sugar syrup or more, to taste
- 2 ½ tsp Creme de Mure (or Cassis)
- fresh blackberries or lemon peel to garnish
- crushed ice
- Fill a rocks glass with crushed ice.
- Put all the ingredients except for the Creme de Mure in a cocktail shaker half filled with ice.
- Shake hard for about ten seconds then strain into the glass.
- Drizzle the Creme de Mure over the drink – it will stain your cocktail a beautiful colour – and garnish with fresh blackberries or some lemon peel.