The aroma of homemade blackberry or bramble syrup will fill your kitchen with the smell of ripe berried autumn when you are making it and reward you with a luscious deep jewel purple syrup at the end. The sight of blackberries bobbing about in a pan of gently simmering water lifts my heart and my senses and for me, is the epitome of autumn.
Here I have a confession to make: I am not a natural-born forager. Wild blackberries are often small and sour compared to their cultivated cousins, which are much larger and sweeter.
I’ve lost track of the number of times I have searched the hedgerows for the sweetest wild blackberries, rinsed them thoroughly in salt water to get rid of any lurking wildlife when I got home. Only to find when I sprinkle sugar and pour over some delicious double cream on a bowl of rich dark berries, a little beetle swimming backstroke in the cream.
Hence, I now buy them large, sweet and bug-free from the supermarket.
Blackberry or bramble syrup is fantastic in cocktails and adding a dash to your G&T will add a layer of luscious flavour. If you are living a booze-free life then blackberry syrup poured over vanilla ice cream is divine, as is a blackberry cheesecake.
How to Make Blackberry Syrup
- 250 g blackberries (frozen are fine for this recipe)
- 1 cup / 240ml water
- 1 to 2 cups / 240 to 480ml by volume sugar
- Simmer all the ingredients in a pan gently for 20 mins.
- Leave to cool in the pan and to infuse the blackberries further.
- Strain the liquid through a fine sieve into a measuring jug.
- Don’t waste the blackberries. Eat them with cream, sans wildlife!
- Makes approximately 3/4 pint or 1/2 litre.
- If the liquid seems too runny reduce gently in a pan to concentrate the flavour. This takes 5-10 mins but needs careful watching or it will catch on the bottom of the pan and you will have a burnt sticky mess. I speak from experience.
- Bottle in a sterilised bottle and keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
The blackberry syrup makes a good substitute for Crème de Mure in a Bramble cocktail. It’s also delicious with lemonade or premium tonic for an alcohol-free drink.