Fresh Blackberry Brambles

It feels like the year has completely flown by. Wasn’t it just a few days ago that I was making beer cheese and complaining about the cold?

Well, apparently not, because now it’s summer. After four straight days of rain and clouds (in which I progressively got more and more gray-sky grumpy, culminating in a full-on temper tantrum on Thursday night), I flew the coop to sunny Maryland and a bottle of gin my family.

Blackberry brambles are a specialty of a friend of mine, who introduced them to me last summer knowing that gin is my drink of choice. He mixed gin, ice, fresh blackberries, sugar and Sprite in a shaker, poured it into a Solo cup (I like to keep it classy … ) and made me a very happy lady. He mentioned the specific recipe to me at one point that night, but I obviously forgot it instantaneously and instead, spent the rest of the summer trying to explain the drink to bartenders, getting frustrated and sticking to my standby* instead.

The original bramble was created in London in the ’80s and floats crème de mûre (a blackberry liqueur) on a mix of gin, simple sugar syrup and lime juice. But with the full disclaimer that I’ve never tried a “real” bramble, I like having fresh fruit in mine. (I especially like eating the “drunk” fruit that’s been soaking in gin at the bottom of my glass.)

Though this is less traditional, the mix of fresh blackberries, lime and seltzer creates something tart and bright and fizzy, with a slight hint of sweet. Add a shot of gin and you’ve created summer in a glass, in a pretty garnet color to boot.

So while you’re grilling or picnic-ing or just lounging around on the deck this weekend, do it with a bramble in hand. It is the start of summer, after all — what better reason to celebrate?

*Are you as amused as I am that the G&T has its own Wikipedia? It’s literally just gin and tonic water. Reminds me of the Peggy line from Mad Men: You need three ingredients for a cocktail. Vodka and Mountain Dew is an emergency.” Apparently some emergencies get their own Wiki …

Fresh Blackberry Brambles
Makes 2 drinks

– 2 ounces fresh blackberries

– 3 ounces (2 shots) gin

– 1 teaspoon sugar (you may want more, depending on the sweetness of your berries and if you like your drinks sweet)

– 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

– ice

– seltzer

1) Place the blackberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle them slightly, breaking up the berries a bit. Add the gin, sugar, lime juice and ice. Close it tightly* and shake it well.

2) Pour the mixture into two lowball glasses** and top with seltzer. Garnish with a lime wheel and drink immediately.

*I learned this the hard way … needless to say, showering in Bombay Sapphire is much more fun in theory than in practice.

**I have no idea if this is the correct glass for this type of drink or not. The lowballs were in front of me and the highballs were too high up in the cabinet to reach so …

Note: If you’re planning to bring something to a Memorial Day cookout or party, I’ve compiled a list of transportable treats, everything from starters to mains to sides to sweets!

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