Get tangled in this Bramble

There once was a berry named Marion
Beloved by a certain librarian.
When her berries fell in
With some vodka and gin
She quit and became a cocktailian.

If you’re reading this bad limerick from outside the Pacific Northwest, you might never have heard of a marionberry. Here in Oregon, it’s maybe second only to the salmon in terms of the reverence and affection it generates.

The “cabernet of blackberries” is a human creation, developed by a USDA scientist more than 70 years ago from hybrids of various types of blackberries and raspberries. The marionberry quickly gained renown for its unique balance of sweetness and acidity. But not for its durability; too fragile to ship fresh, it instead became a staple in local jams, jellies, and syrups, with the frozen product finding its way into countless pies and tarts.

And booze. Wild Roots, a distillery based in central Oregon, has built a reputation for producing spirits with minimally processed, locally produced ingredients, including Oregon pears and huckleberries. It was only natural that its liquor makers would create an incredible marionberry-infused vodka. And that its in-house cocktailians would use that to create a quintessentially Oregon version of the famous Bramble cocktail.

The original gin-based Bramble was created by Dick Bradsell, “The Cocktail King,” while he was working at a bar in the Soho district of London in the 1980s. Bradsell used crème de mûre (blackberry cream liqueur) for the berry element. This version is probably less sweet and more tart—exactly what every marionberry fan desires.

Marionberry Bramble

Adapted from Wild Roots, Sisters, Ore.

1 ounce Wild Roots Marionberry Vodka
1 ounce Wild Roots London Dry Gin
1 ounce simple syrup
.75 ounce lemon juice
Fresh blackberries and lemon slice to garnish

In a rocks glass, combine ingredients over crushed ice. Garnish with fresh blackberries and a lemon slice.

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