By Josh Pugh
Head Mixologist NJAC
Great Britain may be renowned for its array of political opinions – and we are not afraid of debating them in true democratic style – but when the sun comes out there’s one thing we all agree on: the Great British Cocktail.
Last month I wrote about Caribbean Cocktails packed with summer flavour and colour – but this month I am heading down a very different route, taking a look at cocktails that celebrate the British stiff upper lip. These are punchy drinks served with elegance.
Britain is lucky to have access to the world’s ingredients, as well as having its own fantastic products – but this hasn’t always been the case. Great Britain came onto the ‘modern’ cocktail scene quite late for a couple of simple reasons. We don’t naturally grow exotic fruits, and we have always had good quality alcohol available and haven’t needed to disguise the taste.
Sometimes we forget that we are a country made up of influences from all over the world; people, ingredients and ideas. It’s what makes this country Great – so let’s celebrate it. Happy cocktail mixing!
Considering my previous paragraph, it is no surprise that when we look into the Bramble, a very traditional Scottish cocktail, that one of the best ingredients is French! So, what is a bramble and what is its story? Well, it was created by a chap called Dick Bradsell; originally from the Isle of Wight, although he was working in Fred’s Club, Soho, at the time. Dick is a very modest man and simply describes this cocktail as a Gin sour with a bit of Creme de Mure; he’s not wrong but it’s not quite the glamour this contemporary classic deserves! The Bramble is a finely balanced cocktail, celebrating top quality Gin and creating memories of picking blackberries as a child. So why the name? Simple; the Bramble is a small prickly shrub that grows blackberries on it. So without further ado, please study the recipe below and wow all of your friends at future soirées (another Great British phrase!)
25ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
12.5ml Sugar Syrup
50ml Hendrick’s Gin
12.5ml LejayLagoute Creme de Mure
Cubed and Crushed Ice
Fill your Whiskey Glass with Crushed Ice, making a small point (or a volcano as Dick Adsell calls it)
Add Cubed Ice to your Boston Mixing Glass to about 3/4 full
Pour Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup and Gin into your mixing glass
Pop the Boston Tin on top of the Boston Glass shake vigorously until you hear the ice change texture, remove and discard the Glass
Using your Hawthorne Strainer, pour your ice cold ingredients over the Crushed Ice
Now drizzle the Creme de Mure on top and watch it marble its way through the drink.
Blood Orange Julep
It would be very easy to move onto another Gin cocktail, as us Brits do love our Gin! However, let’s be more creative than that, let’s look at some top quality British ingredients that come together to create an incredible cocktail for everyone to enjoy – Blood Orange Julep. This is an NJAC creation after we first tried the Wiltshire Liqueur Company’s, Blood Orange Liqueur. Head Mixologist, Josh Pugh, felt compelled to create something truly British and Delicious. The Julep is traditionally made with Bourbon, Sugar and Fresh Mint, so you can see that it wasn’t a straightforward process to create something so light and fruity. It is important to remember that this is still a short drink and should be sipped (responsibly).
Bar Spoon Lemon Juice
12.5ml Sugar Syrup
25ml Wiltshire Liqueur Blood Orange
32.5ml Black Cow Vodka
Sprig of Fresh Mint
Cubed and Crushed Ice
Fill your (British) Copper Cup with Crushed Ice
Add Cube Ice to your Boston Mixing Glass to about 3/4 full
Pour Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup, Blood Orange Liqueur and Vodka into your mixing glass
Pop your Boston Tin on top and shake vigorously until you hear the texture of the ice change. Remove and discard the glass
Pour the ice cold ingredients over the crushed and churn the crushed ice with a bar spoon. Keep filling up with crushed ice and churning with a bar spoon until the cup is full.
Garnish with a Mint Sprig and sip with a straw.