30/30, #23: the Wibble

Before I move away from my last post about a drink created by London bartender Dick Bradsell — and a drink made with blackberry liqueur, at that — I wanted to dig into one other cocktail that shares these characteristics: the Wibble.

As if the use of blackberry liqueur wasn’t distinguishing enough, the Wibble builds much of its flavor on the tart crispness of Plymouth Sloe Gin. Toss in some grapefruit and lemon to round out the tartness, with an ounce of gin for power and balance, and the Wibble is surprisingly engaging, one of the better sloe gin cocktails I’ve come across.

A couple of notes about the recipe: I’ve seen several versions of this around, and while George Sinclair was kind enough to drop by in the comments section on the Bramble to note that the recipe I listed was the one used by Dick, I honestly have no idea what the original recipe for the Wibble is. I first heard of the Wibble last summer, from a Shaken & Stirred column in the New York Times, by Jonathan Miles. In that column, Miles used a recipe provided by Naren Young at Bobo in New York; Naren substituted creme de cassis for the creme de mure (presumably for the reasons I listed yesterday: creme de mure just ain’t all that common in US bars and liquor stores), and relied on the liqueur and the sloe gin to sweeten the drink (by the way, that version is quite lovely as well — if you don’t have blackberry liqueur on hand, you can still get an idea of how this cocktail works by using a decent creme de cassis). Later in the summer, while working on a sloe gin story for Imbibe, I talked to Marcovaldo Dionysos from Clock Bar in San Francisco; Marco named the Wibble as a favorite, and the recipe he gave me for the story used creme de mure for the sweetener. And just to round out what’s become a confusing paragraph, I did a quick Google on the Wibble and found a couple of recipes that called for a small amount — 5ml, or a teaspoon — of simple syrup to be added to the mix. The drink in front of me, that is rapidly disappearing as I type, was made using the recipe below, without the addition of simple syrup. To my palate, it works, but if you still find it too tart, you may wish to add a bit of sugar, and do so in good conscience.

Anyway — here it is:

The Wibble

  • 1 ounce gin (Bradsell recommends Plymouth)
  • 1 ounce Plymouth Sloe Gin
  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce blackberry liqueur

Combine ingredients in a shaker and fill with ice; shake well and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

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.

6 Responses to 30/30, #23: the Wibble

  1. It must be all the Star Trek in the air this weekend, but my brain kept trying to replace every instance of Wibble with “Tribble.”

  2. Glad to see the Wibble get some love. Every time I go to Clock Bar, I have to fight the urge to drink nothing but them. Not the worst problem to have I suppose.

  3. The Wibble is a great drink for introducing people to gin, as it has a slight chocolately quality to it.

    Dick is never really one for accurately measuring quantities of the ingredients he uses; “This much” and “That much” are his measurements of choice.

    Dick includes gomme syrup in his Wibble, just a touch rather than as much as a barspoon (5ml), this slightly smoothes all the ingredients together.

  4. Great recipe from a great column. Quick clarification question: 1/2 ounce blackberry liqueur? Thank you!

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