Joe's notes: The Bramble Ale is our variation on the classic English cocktail, The Bramble. As creme de mure (blackberry liqueur) is not so readily available on these shores, I have chosen to go with Ribena.
Now I know what you are saying. Ribena is blackcurrant, not blackberry and it also contains no alcohol. But I believe that the addition of cointreau not only makes up for the lack of alcohol in Ribena it also adds a very nice flavor combination.
Those of you that are regular readers of this blog probably realize by now that the H.Q.of TGDitWTW, (The Passage Lounge ) is a hang out for many ex-pats, both British and Irish. We spend many an evening reminiscing of the days when we happily ate fried offal in damp kitchens, or lay awake dying of the heat, sharing the bed with numerous siblings in an un-air conditioned bedroom.
The cure for a sore throat was to have an aspirin, a pair of your fathers (worn) socks wrapped around your neck and a cup of warm Ribena.
A story about Blackcurrants and other things:
When I was a boy, my friend Jeremy and I scrummed the blackcurrant foliage hanging over the wall of the local convent.
Inevitably, a nun was going to appear. She did in the form of sister Bernadette. Mouths and pockets stuffed with blackcurrants we awaited the tirade of anger and accusations. "Boy's," she said, "If you want some blackcurrants why don't you just knock on our garden gate?"
Being boys we said nothing. "Follow me." We followed her through the doors of the convent. Polished wood and stone met our eyes, the smell of boiled cabbage and lilac powder awoke our prepubescent terror. The nuns, silent but surprisingly young, smiled and waved us through. We arrived at a garden with the biggest and most heavily laden blackcurrant bushes I have ever seen to this day." Take what you want, but return tomorrow and help is in the garden".
Jeremy never went back (I think he became a lawyer.)
I went back the following week. I spent a summer drinking tea in fine china cups and eating very small sandwiches with the crusts cut off. They never actualy needed my help with the garden, but rather extended their love to one very small and insignificant boy.
Ribena, nuns in a bottle.