Another oldie — if you consider a drink that’s of the same circa vintage as Thriller and Return of the Jedi “old” — but one you don’t see all that often in U.S. bars. While this Dick Bradsell creation was long a staple of UK cocktail bars (and may still be, for all I know — I really need to travel more), American bars haven’t really picked this up in large numbers.
The reason probably has a lot to do with the availability of creme de mure, a blackberry liqueur. Sure, you can find it in some markets around the country, but in others you might as well be looking for Swedish punsch. (And a quick note — you can often see bottles of “Blackberry Brandy” on the bottom shelf of the liquor store. No, it’s nothing like what you’re looking for here — just please for the love of god, no.)
I finally picked up a bottle of Clear Creek Distillery’s Blackberry Liqueur, though “finally” is a bit misleading — it’s not as though Clear Creek has been making their liqueurs for all that long, maybe a couple of years, and I believe the blackberry is one of the more recent additions to the product line. Anyway, it’s fantastic in this drink, which at its simplest is a gin sour over crushed ice with a float of liqueur, but when viewed from a wider perspective is inherently satisfying on a number of levels. It’s got the basics of strong, sour and sweet, but the little dribbles of blackberry that follow the crags of the ice bring this to another level; the drink seems simple and obvious at first, but grows with complexity as you work your way down the glass and the heavy liqueur retreats to the bottom, leaving dark purple stains in the ice as it goes.
I mucked up the ice and liqueur for my photo round, so you won’t see the drink pictured, but on a second round, with more ice in the glass — and you want to fairly pack it — it works beautifully.
- 1 1/2 ounces gin (Plymouth is the recommended brand)
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 3/4 ounce creme de mure (blackberry liqueur)
Build the gin, lemon and simple over crushed ice in a whiskey glass and briefly stir. Float the liqueur atop the ice, and garnish with blackberries and a slice of lemon, if you got ‘em.
This drink is part of 30/30, a series of 30 drinks in 30 days — or as much as I can keep up before collapsing in a weary, booze-addled heap.