This week my baby and I have an interesting Happy Hour planned. The drink is one that I have made before and absolutely adore. It is a take on a Bramble. The original Bramble was created in 1984 even though it sounds like it ought to be from the 1920s. I’m certain there is an official version of the drink, but in my house we always make it in the exact same way.
1 ½ ounces of gin
½ ounce of Chambord
1 ounce of fresh lemon juice
½ ounce simple syrup
Put all the ingredients into your shaker, add ice and shake the devil out of it. I like to serve mine in a coupe glass but you can also serve it in a regular glass over ice.
I really like the balance of sweet and tart in this drink. Normally, my gin of choice is Plymouth, but for this I generally find the mix of botanicals in Plymouth doesn’t work all that well. For this I generally use Bombay gin. Its particular mix of botanicals lends itself really well to the Bramble concoction. It isn’t too juniper heavy. While Plymouth is my gin of choice it is really a gin for when I want to taste the gin. This drink is more about balance and the Bombay just balances better with these particular ingredients.
The trick is what to serve with it. To be honest I am always happy with this drink as a stand alone, however even though my babydoll was having whiskey instead of joining me in my bramble, he was looking forwards to something to nibble. even if we don’t share the same drink, we both like the appetizer.
This week I went with a homemade Jaffa Cake or at least a pseudo Jaffa Cake. I did take a few liberties with it so I hope no purists are offended. This was just a super easy way to make it for me that matched my drink choice for this week’s happy hour.
For the cakes:
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
A few drops of Cointreau
½ cup AP flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of baking powder
For the gel:
One package of instant Orange jello
Zest of one orange
Bitersweet chocolate chips
For the Gel: Mix the jello according to the pkg directions and add in the zest. Por onto a flat pan with a lip and put in the fridge to set.
For the cakes: Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Don’t use a stand mixer as there isn’t enough batter for it to work properly. Use a hand mixer or a whisk. When smooth, divide the batter evenly into a twelve muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 8—10 minutes. Let cool
When cool: cut out the jello and place on top of the cakes.
For the topping: put the chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl. Put in microwave for 10 seconds, stir and then heat for another ten seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is melted.
Give your chocolate a moment to cool down (without setting) because if you pour it when it is too hot it will melt the jello. Spoon it over the jello covered cakes encapsulating the jello if you can. Leave to set and then enjoy. I tend to store the extras in the fridge so the jello doesn’t melt into a liquid.
As you can see in my finished cakes, the chocolate was still a bit too warm when I poured it over the cakes do there are a few small holes where the jello is poking through. Because I heaped it up instead of using small disks of gel (mostly because my disks kept breaking because I made them too thin by using too large a sheet pan to set them in) there was more jello than usual on the cakes which meant they weren’t as neat as possible.
I have to say that while I would like them a little neater, I didn’t mind the extra jello. This particular cake recipe makes twelve very small and sturdy little cakes but they can be a bit dry. The jello adds much needed moisture and made them taste better than usual. I really liked that I bumped up the range flavor with both the zest in the jello and the Cointreau in the batter. the big pitfall is adding too much alcohol into the cake batter.
You really only need a few drops to get the flavor you want. Don’t go overboard with it. while not exactly the traditional Jaffa Cakes, the dark bittersweet chocolate and the orange really worked well as an accompaniment to my Bramble this week. My babydoll said it worked well with his whisky as well. I’m not entirely sure that is an accurate pairing or if his love of orange and chocolate trumped any taste issues. I was enjoying my Bramble too much to do taste test with his whisky so I have to take his word for it.
As for the Bramble, the cakes went really well with it. The dark chocolate gave the cakes a bitter note to offset the sweet and tangy of the jello and cake as well as the drink. Personally, I think this is a pretty good combo. And I think it is a fabulous kick off to the weekend. I hope you enjoy unwinding from your work week, however you choose to do so.