Monday, August 3, 2015

Recipe: the Briar Patch Cocktail

I'm back today with another fun and refreshing summer cocktail recipe to liven up your Monday. Last time I shared a drink with you, we tipped our hat to Wimbledon with the Pimm's Rangoon, a variation on the Pimm’s Cup, a gin-based beverage. This time, we’re going back to the well, so to speak, with a different gin cocktail: the Briar Patch.

The Briar Patch Gin Cocktail Recipe

Like the Pimm’s Rangoon, this one is also from the great minds at The Violet Hour in Chicago. It’s much simpler, but no less delicious. You need the same equipment as last time, and perhaps a bag to crush ice if you don’t have an icemaker in your fridge that dispenses it.

Ingredients for Briar Patch Cocktail Recipe

  • 1½ fl. oz Plymouth Gin
  • ¾ fl. oz. Lemon Juice
  • ½ fl. oz. Simple Syrup
  • ¼ fl. oz. Homemade Blackberry Syrup + a little more
  • 1 Blackberry for Garnish
  • 2 Sprigs of Mint (optional)
  • Angostura Bitters

Ingredients Briar Patch Cocktail

This cocktail takes advantage of the wonderful berries you can get in the summer. The recipe calls for blackberries, but if you like, I see no reason why you can’t substitute raspberries, boysenberries, or even blueberries or strawberries.

The recipe calls for Plymouth Gin, which is both a brand, and an official subtype of gin. Many people think that gin always means London Dry Gin, but really there are several official subtypes each with their own character. Just like whiskey (or whisky) has its bourbon, rye, Irish and Scotch traditions, gin has London Dry, but also the sweeter Old Tom Gin, malty and aged Dutch Genever, and earthy Plymouth Gin.

Plymouth Gin, the official subtype, must be made in Plymouth, England and there is only one brand still being made in that city, the eponymous Plymouth Gin. Plymouth Gin has more roots and herbs in it than your average London Dry, so it is a nice set off to the bright and crisp flavors of citrus and blackberry in the Briar Patch. Even so, if all you have is a bottle of Tanqueray or Beefeater London Dry, don’t be shy and still try this drink out.

Here’s how it goes:

1. Make the Blackberry Syrup by taking a cup of blackberries and putting them in a metal, glass, or ceramic mixing bowl. Plastic can stain, so stay away from that if you can. Add a half cup of the simple syrup you made last time and mash those berries. I used my trusty muddler, but any tool you have at hand is fine. Toss in 3 generous dashes of Angostura bitters and that’s it. Let the mix rest for an hour if you can (we didn’t this time), and then strain it through a chamois sack into a jar or bottle.

2. Pour your Gin, your juice and your syrups into a vessel to mix. We used Sean’s trusty shaker, but a regular cup will do.

Muddling Mint

3. We had some mint left over from last time, so we added a sprig and muddled it into the mix. The original recipe didn’t call for it, but it sounded fun, and mixology is all about fun, so in it went.

4. You aren’t going to shake this drink. Because it is served over crushed ice, you don’t want to dilute it once by shaking with ice and then dilute it again by letting that crushed ice melt into your drink. The dilution from the melting rocks in the glass will be enough.

5. Fill your tumbler with crushed ice. If your fridge doesn’t make crushed ice, take your cubes out, drop them in a plastic or mesh bag and crack the rocks with a muddler or mallet until they are broken up sufficiently.

Double Straining Briar Patch Cocktail

6. Pour your drink over the ice. The ice will recede some, so top off with more ice. You want your glass full and frosty like a julep.

7. Garnish with a plump Blackberry, another sprig of mint if you are using it and another drizzle of Blackberry syrup on top for color and a burst of flavor.

Blackberry Syrup--Briar Patch Cocktail


x, Tam (and Sean)


  1. Oh my gooooosh that looks amazing. I wish I were a more talented mixologist, but I don't even have all the tools needed to make this! Can I just come over to your house and you can make me one? ;)

    ~Sarah of Sarah's Real Life


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