The Bramble – Evolution of a Cocktail

The cocktail focus of this post is The Gin Fix; this dates back to at least the 1860s but is probably now more familiar in its more modern incarnation, The Bramble.

The Gin Fix appears in Jerry Thomas’ “How to Mix Drinks” from 1862 which handily has recently become available in a reprinted edition (as has its’ 1887 publication). The original recipe calls for a mixture of gin, sugar, lemon and water, served over shaved ice, or should one wish to be a little more continental, à la frappé. The recipe evolved through subsequent published works, from both Thomas and other authors, to include the addition of fruit-flavoured syrups.

Now we shall leap forward 100 years (stopping briefly for a 1950s cocktail hour on route) and cross the Atlantic to Soho, London where bartender Richard Bradsell introduces the world to his latest creation, The Bramble.
This is essentially a Gin Fix with an addition of Crème de Mure at the end, but for such a simple variation it has had a big impact on the modern cocktail custom and is now among the most popular cocktails of the modern cocktail era along with the Cosmopolitan.
The Bramble itself has inspired spin-off cocktails including The Bramble Martini; this is a Martini of two parts gin, one part vermouth with a dash of Crème de Mure.

It is worth noting that The Bramble is not the only contemporary version of the Gin Fix; various books from the 1960s detail The Canadian Blackberry Fix which substitutes the gin in a Bramble for, you’ve guessed it, Canadian Whiskey.

The Gin Fix is a drink that has been around for over a century and has evolved a good deal over that time; one can only wonder what the next hundred years will bring for this grandfather of cocktails.

Special thanks to George Sinclair who helped with my research.










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About DTS

partial to a martini? to a smoke-hazed gin joint & a perfect tipple poured with the style, swank & skill of a true aficionado? …then pull up your stool to the bar, prepare to stock up your cocktail cabinet & get ready to drink it all in as we introduce you to a stitch in times’ resident barman… David T. Smith is a drinks enthusiast currently residing in the U.K. a long-time fan of tasting & exploring various types of alcohol, he has a fascination for vintage spirits and cocktails, in particular their heritage & origins; this was strengthened last year when he presented a talk and accompanying monograph on the Martini. it was as a result of his research of this topic that he was introduced to drinks paraphernalia, & he is now the happy owner of a colourful collection of bottles, books, and gadgets from a wide range of eras… an avid believer in the validity and variety of personal opinion, particularly in the subjective area of tasting, he enjoys hosting tasting sessions for friends, constantly challenging them to find their own favourite tipple. in addition to all of this, he is also interested in economics, three-piece suits, board games & keeping alive the art of engaging in enjoyable conversation with a good glass of port whilst surrounded by pipe smoke… Thanks to Analiebe for writing this rather flattering blurb for me.

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