Cocktail historians tell us that the Bramble was invented in London in 1984. (Surely someone somewhere made one of these delicious cocktails sooner, don’t you think?) This delightful drink is typically composed of gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and blackberry liqueur. Sure, it’s a tasty adult beverage, but we can make it even better.
As a forager, I’m obsessed with un-buyable flavors, and my favorite way to make this cocktail is with freshly harvested black raspberries, still warm from the sun. And yes, the fact that I’ve risked encountering a bear to gather my harvest makes me value it even more! But whether you pick your fruit in the wild, from your backyard, or at the farmers’ market, this is a delicious, quintessentially summer drink.
Need more convincing?
- The Black Raspberry Bramble strikes the perfect balance between sweet berries and tart citrus.
- This is a lighter, more summery beverage than the original, with slightly less alcohol and a boost of bubbles from the tonic.
- It’s gorgeous to look at. (Remember, we also feast with our eyes.)
- Fresh berries are super healthy, full of antioxidents and fiber—so you can think of this as a medicinal beverage.
- Tired of the same old gin and tonic? The Black Raspberry Bramble is anything but boring.
I call this drink the Black Raspberry Bramble, but you can make it with any bramble berry. Raspberries, wineberries, golden raspberries, and blackberries are all delicious, and each one brings its own color and subtleties of flavor to the party. Where I forage, black raspberries are the first bramble berry to ripen, so I enjoy my Black Raspberry Brambles for a few weeks until other fresh berries have a chance to ripen.
The Black Raspberry Bramble uses lime juice instead of lemon, fresh fruit instead of liqueur, and if you really want to impress at your next pool party, use a flavored simple syrup. My favorite is wildcrafted spruce tip syrup, with elderflower coming in a close second. No time to infuse your own simple syrup? Treat yourself to a bottle of Monin or Torani, two well-known brands that each offer a huge range of flavors. And guess what? They even make sugar-free versions! I think lavender, lemongrass, and rosemary syrup would all be tasty in the Black Raspberry Bramble. (But not all together, ok?)
Recipe for one Black Raspberry Bramble cocktail
1 Tablespoon fresh black raspberries
½ ounce flavored simple syrup
½ ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces gin
2 ounces tonic water
Place the berries in an old fashioned glass and squeeze in the lime juice. Add the simple syrup, and muddle the berries into the liquid. Pour in the gin and tonic water, and add a few ice cubes. Then stir gently to combine the ingredients.
Don’t worry about drinking your Black Raspberry Bramble too fast. It’s summer. There are plenty of berries out there, just waiting for you to enjoy.