The Bramble is one of those cocktails that feels like a century-old classic. It looks the part, and every good barkeep knows how to make one. But the drink wasn’t created until 1984, when Dick Bradsell (whose resume also includes the Espresso Martini) mixed this modern-classic at Fred’s Club in London’s Soho neighborhood. It’s one of that decade’s best success stories, standing apart from the era’s provocatively named drinks that eschewed fresh ingredients in favor of bottled, neon-hued mixers.
The Bramble was named for the bush that blackberries grow on and was inspired by the fresh berries that Bradsell used to pick as a child on the Isle of Wight. After receiving some crème de mure (a blackberry liqueur) for the bar, he began experimenting and came on a combination of gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and crème de mure that was part Gin Sour, part Singapore Sling. He shook up the ingredients and strained them over crushed ice to tame the sweetness.
There’s no reason to tweak Bradsell’s Bramble: It’s great precisely as he made it back in 1984. But that hasn’t stopped inventive bartenders from playing with the recipe. The easiest way to tweak the original is to swap in a different base spirit for the gin, like a dry pisco or grassy rhum agricole, or to drizzle another product on top, like Chambord raspberry liqueur. You can also shake a couple berries with the liquid ingredients to lend more flavor and color to the cocktail. All of these variations make a fine drink, but perhaps none provide the simple refreshment that Bradsell achieved behind the bar at Fred’s Club.
This recipe pays homage to the well-balanced original. Mix one during spring and summer when blackberries are in season (throw a berry on the ice crown for visuals and a healthy snack), and you might discover your new favorite way to drink gin.
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 teaspoons simple syrup
- 1/2 ounce crème de mure
- Garnish: lemon half-wheel
- Garnish: fresh blackberry
Add the gin, lemon juice and simple syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Fine-strain into an Old Fashioned glass over crushed ice.
Slowly pour the crème de mure over the top of the drink
Garnish with a lemon half-wheel and a fresh blackberry.