Gin for beginners: the Bramble cocktail

Bramble gin cocktail
Bramble cocktail made with Genever gin
Usher in pre-summer sipping with a gin and blackberry-infused cocktail

Usher in pre-summer sipping with a gin and blackberry-infused cocktail.

A good friend, Jennifer, was bestowed an unusual gift, a ceramic bottle of corenwyn jenever (exactly like this). Jenever (also called Genever) is a juniper-flavoured malt-wine spirit that originated in Holland as the precursor to gin (we can thank the Brits in for that).

Jennifer wasn’t too familiar with gin, and admittedly, wasn’t sure if she’d ever had it. Knowing that I, and fellow 70 magazine scribe, Barb, had a fondness for gin, she did what every good girlfriend should do: invite us over to crack open the bottle and mix up a tasty tipple.

No shaking required

The result? The bramble, pictured above, which melds tart lemon, fragrant corenwyn jenever, and sweet blackberry liqueur. The recipe doesn’t require much prep work (we did make our own simple syrup: add one part sugar to two parts water, microwave under sugar dissolves and let cool), and it can be built right in the glass.

The corenwyn, a cask-aged jenever, was golden in colour, unlike your typical Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, or Hendricks gins. It still has the botanical juniper flavour that you expect in a gin, but it’s mellow enough to be sipped neat. Adding blackberries and lemon elevate it into a refreshing cocktail. (The blackberry liquor was easy to find; I purchased a bottle of Marie Brizard from my local BC Liquor store. See recipe below for a link.)

Here in the Pacific Northwest, wild blackberries are a summer staple. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait until August when the blackberries hang heavy and plump on their prickly vines, to be able to garnish this gorgeous cocktail with its namesake: a bramble (normally, I wouldn’t buy berries out of season, but this recipe screamed for an exception). If you can’t find blackberries in your local market, top the cocktail with a lemon twist.

Bramble cocktail

1.5/45 ml ounces corenwyn jenever or gin
1 oz/30 ml fresh-squeezed lemon juice
0.5 oz/15 ml blackberry liqueur
2 tsp/10 ml simple syrup
Club soda (optional)

Fill a double old-fashioned glass three-quarters full of crushed—not cubed—ice. (Place ice cubes in a plastic bag; bash with a frying pan or rolling pin. Add all ingredients, reserving blackberries and/or lemon twist. Add a splash of club soda, if desired. Stir. Garnish. Sip. Repeat! Φ

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