It was so gorgeous in Portland last week. After months of rain and grey, I was so excited to have the chance to be outside. And being outside always reminds me of the sheer bounty of the Northwest. There are flowering fruit trees everywhere right now and soon there will be fruit for eating and putting in jams, baked goods, and my personal favorite, cocktails!
That said, I was really wanting some fruit right now! I hit up the New Seasons and found some blackberries. They're totally not in season, but when they are, this is a drink I will make ALL the time. The classic Bramble is made with Gin. The cocktail was created by the late Dick Bradsell in London in the 80's. It consists of Gin, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, and Creme de Mure (a blackberry liqueur). I wanted to do a whiskey cocktail and thought the spirit would make a nice substitution in this drink.
For the Creme de Mure, I used one that I made with fresh blackberries last summer when they were in season. I think the store-bought brands tend to be a little too sweet for my taste and I like the complexity and brightness of the homemade liqueur, so I opted for Marcia Simmons' recipe. Instead of the suggested Vodka to Brandy ratio that she suggests, I ended up using equal parts Vodka and a dry Spanish Brandy which dried it out a little and made it less sweet, which I prefer. Either way you go, store-bought or homemade Creme de Mure, this cocktail is a MUST for those late summer days when you want something refreshing, but with a little depth to it. Enjoy!
Whiskey Bramble Thyme
- 1 1/2 oz Whiskey (I used Russell's Reserve 10yr Bourbon)
- 3/4 oz Lemon Juice (I used Meyer lemons because they were in season)
- 3/4 oz Creme de Mure
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- 6 Blackberries
Muddle 4 berries and a small sprig of thyme in a cocktail shaker. Add whiskey, lemon juice, simple syrup and shake with ice. Strain into a double rocks glass filled with cracked ice. Top with more cracked ice and drizzle the Creme de Mure over the top. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and fresh Oregon blackberries.