Berries: Muddle ’Em if You’ve Got ’Em

Photo by Jon Estrada

Photo by Jon Estrada

One of summer’s sweetest delights is risking life and limb to free the perfect raspberry or blackberry from the spiny protection of its brambles. Sun-warmed, sweet-tart and plentiful, such a reward needs no embellishment. And with just the right ripe fruit and high-quality spirits, a good cocktail, too, is almost inevitable.

The Basil Bramble is just such a drink, a recent addition to the menu at La Cave in Wynn combining Beefeater gin, Chambord, simple syrup, fresh lemon and a few dashes of bitters with muddled basil, blueberries and blackberries, making for one refreshing warm-weather wonder. The drink is a modern approach to London bartender Dick Bradsell’s 1980s sensation, the Bramble, which is named for the English blackberry bush and made with London dry gin, fresh lemon juice, sugar and a float of crème de mure (blackberry liqueur).

Moreover, Wirtz Beverage Nevada mixologist Andrew Pollard’s new homage to the Bramble combines products La Cave regularly has on hand. “As innovation and craft and boutique brands continue to drive our industry, bar staples are often forgotten, nudged aside for new ‘toys’ for the bartenders to play with,” Pollard says. “The Basil Bramble embraces something that many bartenders have lost touch with, which is to work with what you have, and make the most from it.”

Basil Bramble
As served at La Cave in Wynn, $16

In a mixing glass, muddle 4-6 fresh basil leaves and 5-6 each fresh blueberries and blackberries with 11/2 ounce Beefeater gin, 3/4 ounce Chambord, 1 ounce simple syrup, 1 ounce fresh lemon juice and 2-3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters. Add ice, shake vigorously and double strain over fresh ice into a 10-ounce bucket glass. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf, a berry skewer and a lemon twist.


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