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Internationally renowned Edinburgh bar Bramble creates first new cocktail menu in over a decade

It's been named as one of the world's best bars, and gained global renown for its incredible drinks selection and skilled mixologists. 

Published: January 9, 2020
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Now, for the first time since its opening 13 years ago, Edinburgh's Bramble has announced the launch of an entirely new cocktail menu.

The exciting new drinks list, which took just over eight months to prepare is set to launch later this month.

Mike Aikman, who co-founded the bar with fellow mixologist Jas Scott in 2006, explained that the new menu is a "complete overhaul", with a "thoroughly fresh outlook for a new decade", he said: "We’re freshening up our approach, just like we did when we opened in 2006, when we analysed the important factors we wanted in a cocktail menu.

"A lot has changed in the cocktail world since then, so it is important for us to try and stay relevant, whilst appealing to our existing, loyal customers and focusing on customer service."

The hugely popular Bramble has featured multiple times on the 50 Best Bars list and was named Best Place to Drink in the Observer Food Monthly Awards, while style magazine dubbed it “one of the best six bars in the UK” and the New York Times hailed it as a "premier destination" for any true drinks fan.

Mike added that the humble soft fruit which gives the bar its name played a key role in inspiring the new drinks list and that some classics were hard to switch out, he said: "Some drinks, like the Mint 500, Campbeltown Cocktail, or the Celery Sour, have become synonymous with Bramble and are ordered almost automatically so it becomes difficult to remove them from the menu for fear of alienating our regular clientele.

"In the end, we thought rather than just switching in a few drinks every quarter we would just rip it up and start again.

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"Integral to this process was looking at our namesake, the Bramble itself. We still love them and making them for customers but having made so many of them we thought we could take a different slant on it - using similar flavours but presented completely differently.”

The new menu is focused on "clear and concise flavour profiles”, according to bar manager Michael Lynch, who has led his team of bartenders over the past eight months in developing the new drinks.

A process which has included trips to inspirational locations and a series of tasting panels where ideas were conceived, tested, reworked, and retooled.

Some of those new ideas take inspiration from Filipino culture, such as using purple yams to make a coconut syrup in a nod to Michael Lynch’s heritage, while other Asian flavours take centre stage throughout the menu.

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Co-founder Jas Scott stated that the team have even redistilled tequila with six gin botanicals at Mothership HQ - a separate production site where syrups, liqueurs, and infusions are made not only for the bars but also for sale online - to create one of the new options.

He said: “We’ve always had a very DIY approach to making our own syrups or infusions.

“We’ve had our dedicated, off-site R&D space for doing that kind of thing since 2017 and it’s made a huge impact in terms of what we’re able to do."

One cocktail, in particular, was a nod to the bar itself, explained Michael.

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He said: “Our very own take on the humble Bramble, it’s the brainchild of assistant manager Jonny Arthur, and it’s a clever take on a simple, straightforward drink, and our namesake.

"We’ve distilled Bræmble liqueur, mixed it with Portobello Road gin, dry vermouth, and clarified sour apple; diluted that with bramble water, and carbonated everything.

"The blackberry bleeds from the bottom up rather than from the top-down as the fizz hits a sugar cube made using Bræmble liqueur."

Described by drinks legend Ryan Chetiyawardana of Mr. Lyan as his "favourite bar in the world", the new menu can be sampled at the Queen Street venue from Wednesday 15th January.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.

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