If you’re in search of the perfect happy hour cocktail, one that’s refreshing, the perfect amount of sweet and tart, and not just easy to drink, but easy to make, then this, my friend, is the recipe for you (of course, if you’re of legal drinking age)!
We’re taking the classic Blackberry Bramble cocktail and making it even easier with homemade blackberry syrup. It’s true, no muddling here, just a few shakes and you’re ready to cheers. Because the syrup can be made with frozen berries, this no-muddle-use syrup-instead method is the perfect solution for enjoying this aperitif all year round (because let’s be real, out-of-season berries are way spendy).
Now, if you haven’t had, or even heard of a Blackberry Bramble before, then stick with me, because I promise you, it’s worth it!
What Is a Bramble?
You see, a bramble refers to a prickly shrub, most commonly the plant that grows blackberries. But it can include raspberries and roses, too. You see where we’re going already, don’t you?
The mixed drink was created in London back in the ’80s, inspired by the creator’s childhood memories of picking blackberries. And you guessed it…the bush’s name bramble inspired the name of the drink because of the blackberries.
What You’ll Need
You’ll only need a few ingredients to make this beverage, which is why it’s one of my favorites to have when I just want one simple cocktail for a little happy hour treat after work. So here’s what you’ll need:
- Blackberry Syrup: I highly recommend making a batch and keeping it on hand for such occasions that I described (a quick happy hour drink). You’ll need blackberries and sugar to make it, and a little water, too. Reserve a few blackberries for garnish.
- Gin: typically a gin-based cocktail, but if you aren’t a fan or have vodka on hand instead, go ahead and substitute it.
- Lemon: fresh lemon juice adds a nice zing to the drink and rounds out the sweetness from the syrup. Highly recommend using fresh – not the bottled stuff – for the best flavor!
- Blackberry Liqueur (crème de mûre): technically speaking this one is a classic ingredient, drizzled on top for added flavor. But…it’s optional here because we are going EASY and budget-friendly because I totally understand not wanting to buy another fancy liqueur for a cocktail.
- But wait! If you have Chambord (of course you have it for sorbet) – use it! Chambord is a blackberry and raspberry liqueur so for me, it adds just the right amount of sweet berry flavor to the drink.
- Club Soda: optional, but a splash of it helps even out the drink and keeps it from being too strong, while also adding a fun fizz.
- Crushed Ice: not an ingredient per se, but crushed ice is recommended when serving blackberry brambles because it helps dilute the strong drink. Easily crush ice in a Vitamix or wrap it in a towel and wack away with a heavy spoon.
The Type of Gin…
Gin is a distilled spirit that has a distinct flavor – most notably like pine – due to its main ingredient: juniper berries. There are many varieties of gin, and depending on the specific type and brand of gin you use, it will influence the final flavor of this cocktail.
Some gins are on the drier side, others are more herb and botanical forward, fruitier, sweeter. Whichever it is, these distinctions will come through in the final drink.
Dry gins will be less piney and more approachable for the everyday cocktail drinker, which is what I recommend in this recipe. The overall flavor of gin is a mixture of citrus and spice, with yes, that slight pine flavor (which makes it so perfect for the holiday season!).
I find Prarie Organic Gin – made locally here in Minnesota – has a lovely flavor in this cocktail (not sponsored, just a fan!). However, there are so many options out there, ask your liquor store for a recommendation based on your preferences if you need more help.
The bottom line comes down to this: if you have a favorite gin, use it! The Spruce Eats has a whole lot of information about each type of gin if you’re interested in additional information.
How to Make a Blackberry Bramble
Let’s get to the fun part: making the delicious liquid refreshment! It’s super easy to do, too, and while a cocktail shaker is helpful, it’s not required (keep reading to find out the easy solution!).
First, make the blackberry syrup. Of course, that is if you don’t already have it on hand. Making simple syrup is so easy and this blackberry version will take less than 10 minutes. You do need to let it cool so it doesn’t completely melt the ice, there’s no need to stress about it too much.
Next, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the gin, lemon juice, and syrup. Put the lid on and give it a few good shakes. A cocktail shaker serves a few purposes; it helps combine the ingredients while simultaneously chilling the liquids and slightly diluting the alcohol.
No cocktail shaker? No problem! Grab a jar with a lid and follow the same process.
Pour the liquid into a low ball glass (like what you would use for an old-fashioned) filled with crushed ice. Be sure to strain it into the glass, keeping the ice in the cocktail shaker out of the serving glass.
Top it off with some club soda if desired, and a splash of the liqueur, pouring it evenly across the top if using, and it’s time to enjoy!
Of course, a garnish is always a nice touch, and Blackberry Bramble’s should definitely have fresh blackberries if you have them. A lemon slice, or some fresh herbs like mint or basil are also lovely. Then, cheers to the best cocktail hour around!
- Not to go totally off of tradition, but you can easily swap raspberry syrup or strawberry syrup in this cocktail. While it won’t really be a bramble it will still be a delicious berry cocktail!
- Use lime in place of the lemon if it’s what you have.
- Use ginger ale or ginger beer in place of the club soda if you’re a ginger fan!
- Crème de cassis can be used in place of crème de mûre – it’s made from black currants.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Easy Blackberry Bramble (No Muddling)
- fresh blackberries
- lemon slice
- fresh mint or basil
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and blackberries. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Once softened, gently smash the softened berries with the back of a spoon or masher. Simmer for 6-8 minutes until the berries have disintegrated into seeds and the syrup is bright purple.
- Remove from heat and strain out the berries and seeds through a fine-mesh sieve. Use a spoon to stir the mixture to release the syrup as needed, being careful to not let any seeds or fruit bits into the syrup. Discard the seeds. Let cool as needed or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.
- Fill a cocktail shaker (or jar with lid) with ice. Add the gin, blackberry syrup, and lemon juice. Gently shake several times.
- Fill a lowball glass with crushed ice. Strain the cocktail over the ice. If adding club soda, pour it in. Drizzle the blackberry liqueur or Chambord over the top. Garnish with fresh blackberries and enjoy responsibly!
- Read more about making blackberry syrup here.
- Easily double the recipe for 2 (or more) cocktails, as long as your cocktail shaker is big enough.