Monday, July 12, 2010

The English cosmoplitan:
Served up in Berkeley

This summer I was enchanted (I love that word—the MIL used it recently to describe her reaction to a University of California alumni magazine. And all this time they've probably thought no one reads it.) by a New York Times Style Magazine article on the bramble cocktail, described by the author as English's cosmopolitan.

Isn't it pretty? And of course I could use a new summer cocktail. I mean, how many gin and tonics can a person drink? Don't answer that.

But I was stopped in my tracks by the ingredient crème de mûre, a blackberry liqueur. Sounded expensive. So in my best chin-up recession spirit, I set off in search of a recipe to make it myself.

Most of the recipes I found were for a blackberry wine, not liqueur. I finally settled on a recipe for crème de cassis, substituting blackberries for the recipe's currants.

Don't make this wearing a white t-shirt.

This recipe yielded a little over two bottles, which should (but probably won't) last for quite a while.

Crème de mûre
1 pound blackberries, mashed lightly
2 1/2 cups fruity red wine (Zinfandel works well)
4–5 cups sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries
1 to 2 1/2 cups vodka

Combine blackberries and wine in a ceramic or glass bowl for at least 24 and up to 48 hours.

Puree mixture in a food processor or blender and then strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large bowl.

Measure into a heavy saucepan. For every cup of liquid, add 1 cup of sugar.

Heat gently, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved. Do not let the liquid come to a simmer, as you don't want to boil off the alcohol. Reduce heat to lowest level and simmer for an hour or more, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced a little and become slightly syrupy.

Allow to cool.

Mix together 1 part vodka with 3 parts of the cooled syrup and funnel into clean, dry bottles. Store in a cool place for at least 2 weeks before drinking.

Here is my bramble cocktail, served last night before Sunday dinner to rave reviews from adult Scrabble players.

It's not quite as pink as the NY Times', but why should it be? Blackberries are black, not pink. And I have neither a fancy glass, shiny straws, nor extra blackberries for garnish. But I have an amazing collection of jelly jars that are just the right size for summer cocktail over ice, some silver cocktail picks, and a few leftover blueberries.

The Bramble
Adapted from the New York Times Style Magazine

2 ounces gin
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (see note)
1/2 ounce crème de mûre

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake together the first three ingredients and strain into a glass over ice. Drizzle crème de mûre over the top and garnish with a slice of lemon and two blackberries.

Note: To make simple syrup, combine equal measures of water and sugar and heat until sugar has dissolved. Cool to room temperature and store in refrigerator until ready to use.
As festive as a cosmopolitan but infinitely more seasonal. Enjoy.


carolyn said...

This sounds yummy--
I made a Santa Rosa plumtini this weekend.
8 cups plums-chopped, 4 cups water, 4 cups sugar, 1 vanilla bean. bring to a boil for 6-8 minutes. cool and strain through sieve. Serve with equal parts of vodka...sip slowly!

Sis. Boom. said...

I really HATE being the last one to see a cocktail trend! Greg just wrote about this one too!

Trish said...

That sounds DELICIOUS. I've been drinking limoncello like it's Sprite this summer, so I'm ready for a change!

adozeneggs said...

My wild blackberries are really starting to ripen and I've been looking for something great to do with them. I thought I'd need everclear or something to make a liquer, but your recipe sounds easy and delicious.
Thanks for posting!! Just a couple more days of picking and I'll be drinking Brambles!!