You've probably had this experience: You're at a bar or restaurant, and you've just placed your drink order. As you wait to be served, you see a server walk by with a drink that looks amazing -- you may not know what it is, yet you find yourself wishing you had ordered that instead of whatever you did. If that mystery drink was a vibrant, violet-red cocktail, there's a chance it might have been a fresh blackberry bramble.
A standard bramble cocktail is gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and ice shaken and strained over crushed ice in a short glass. The cocktail is finished with a circular drizzle of crème de mûre, a blackberry-flavored liqueur. Even though a basic bramble cocktail already includes blackberry flavor, if you hear someone specifically order a "blackberry bramble," they are likely to get a variation on the drink that utilizes fresh blackberries in some form.
Though blackberry brambles can look different from one bar to the next, there's one commonality between all of them: that lovely, deep magenta color from the blackberries and blackberry liqueur. Whether you order one while out or make a bramble at home, the classic blackberry cocktail is vibrant, colorful, and highly photogenic -- not to mention remarkably tasty.
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A Quick Bramble Ramble
The basic bramble is a relatively young cocktail, created in the mid-1980s in London by bartender Dick Bradsell. He set out to create a "truly British drink," drawing inspiration from childhood memories of picking blackberries on the Isle of Wight, he wrote for Difford's Guide. Bradsell's basic bramble calls for four ingredients -- gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup, and crème de mûre -- but no fruit. The simple drink gets its pizzazz from the red-violet crème de mûre spiraling through the clear ice.
Blackberry bramble variations can be even more colorful because, in addition to the fruity red liqueur, there are actual blackberries in the drink. Unlike the basic bramble, a blackberry bramble doesn't have a standard recipe, which is why they vary from one bartender's version to the next.
Most commonly, a blackberry bramble is made by muddling fresh blackberries in a glass, or a pitcher if you want to make a batch of brambles. Add crushed ice, then shake the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker and pour it over the ice. You could also muddle the berries in the shaker so they can be strained out, leaving a clear reddish drink, which is ideal if you prefer to not sip seeds and bits of fruit. You can also purée the berries with the simple syrup and then strain out the solids. If you don't have an immersion blender, the simpler preparations are as delicious, and as visually appealing.
Bramble V. Bramble
Brambles, with or without fresh fruit, might not be a trending cocktail on social media at the moment-- but we won't be surprised if the colorful cocktail enjoys a resurgence in the Instagram age. Both variations on the cocktail are eye-catching, albeit in different ways. The classic bramble is elegant, if understated; it resembles a miniature ice mountain with a spiral of deep magenta trickling down through it, sort of like a grown-up snow cone.
Blackberry brambles with fresh fruit tend to be even more vibrant, with the entire body of the cocktail taking on that stunning red-violet hue. In preparations where berries are muddled at the bottom of the serving glass, the final product may have a sort of ombré effect. Make one, and have your camera at the ready. Blackberry brambles are gorgeous.
Whichever variation you like best, either aesthetically or in taste, a perfect bramble really pops with a bit of garnish. That usually means a few blackberries, a sprig of mint, and a slice of lemon, although there's no reason you can't get creative and add edible flowers to your cocktails.
Tips for home bartenders: If you can't find crème de mûre in your local stores, you can easily make your own. Easier still, use crème de cassis, a red currant-flavored liqueur that's much more common.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.