The Irish Influence

The Bramble team embark on an Irish whiskey odyssey
By Christopher Coates
With the Irish whiskey category in the midst of a resurgence, it seemed appropriate to turn our eye to this traditional home of triple-distilled spirit.

As is often the case with single malt Scotch, premium whiskeys from Ireland are perceived by some as too good to mix. Cries of ‘blasphemy’ echo across social media when even so much as an ice cube appears in proximity to a glass filled with Ireland's national spirit, somewhat belying the easy-going approach to life for which the nation’s population are famous. Combined with the perception of Irish whiskey as a ‘cold weather drink’, this reluctance to embrace fruity, floral, and long serves leads to many menus passing over Irish spirit in favour of its American cousin or, more likely, rum.

This issue’s cocktails eschew even the more widely accepted format of short, prohibition-style whiskey cocktails. Instead, the team at Bramble Bar in Edinburgh have explored the spirit’s potential as a long drink, inspired by a classic Buck (or Mule) format, and also its potential for interplay with intensely aromatic, floral modifiers. Why not try them at home and let us know what you think by tagging us on Instagram or Twitter on @Whisky_Magazine.

The cocktails

Warehouse No.2

By Jonny Arthur


  • 40ml Method and Madness Single Grain

  • 25ml Cocchi Americano

  • 12.5ml Suze

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir well with ice, strain and serve over block ice in a stemless wine glass.

An lemon twist.

Bow Street Cocktail

By Mike Lynch


  • 50ml Jameson Black Barrel

  • 12.5ml vanilla chai cordial

  • 12.5ml chinotto syrup

  • Tonic water to taste

Stir well with ice to chill, strain into a rocks glass over block ice and top with tonic water.

An orange twist.

The Gilbey Buck

By Mike Lynch


  • 35ml Redbreast 12 Years Old

  • 15ml Lucky Liqueurs Tonka Bean Liqueur

  • 10ml ginger extract

  • 10ml lemon juice

  • 35ml Earl Grey tea

  • Soda water to taste

Build in a highball glass over cubed ice and top with soda.

Candied ginger.

The bartenders

Mike Lynch

Before taking up the role as Bramble’s bar manager, Mike worked on the opening of various new bars and restaurants for independent owners in Edinburgh. This included the creation of cocktail menus and wine lists for the capital’s prestigious Devil’s Advocate bar and Chop House venues.

Jonny Arthur

After working in Aberdeen, Jonny moved to Scotland's capital to work in Bramble’s sister bar The Last Word Saloon in Stockbridge. Moving to Bramble at the start of 2017, he has subsequently excelled in numerous industry tournaments and become well known for his terrible taste in shirts. Thankfully, his palate is spot on when it comes to crafting cocktails.

The Whiskies

Method and Madness

Single Grain 46% ABV
This single grain from Midleton distillery is part of the Method and Madness range, which is the result of collaboration between the company’s apprentices and its whiskey masters. This particular expression is resinous, musty and intensely spicy on account of a 12-month finish in virgin Spanish oak from Galicia.


12 Years Old 40% ABV
Probably the most widely revered single pot still Irish whiskey, its distinctive name was bestowed by the bird-loving chairman of W&A Gilbey as a nod to the Robin’s red breast and the whiskey’s sherry-influenced colour. A spicy ‘Christmas cake’ profile has gained it a loyal following.


Black Barrel 40% ABV
A premium expression of Jameson blended whiskey, Black Barrel contains a high proportion of single pot still spirit and takes its name from the double-charred Bourbon barrels used in its production. Expect lashings of toffee and a Bourbon-esque spice element.

Other Ingredients

Cocchi Americano 16.5% ABV

Similar to its sweeter French cousin Lillet Blanc, Cocchi Americano is an Italian aperitivo made by infusing white wine with sugar, herbs and spices.

Suze 15% ABV

This classic French aperitif is made with gentian root and is intensely floral as a result. It is spicy, fruity, and delicately bitter.

Earl Grey tea

Brew a strong Earl Grey tea (the cocktail needs the aromatics and bitterness) and let it cool down before adding to the mix.

Chinotto syrup

Ideally made with Chinotto oranges, which impart a distinctive bittersweet ‘cola’ flavour. As these oranges aren’t widely available, a syrup can be created by reducing down a chinotto-flavoured soft drink. Alternatively, bake sliced oranges, lemons and grapefriut with corriander seeds, black peppercorns and rosemary until caramelised. Then steep the whole lot in sugar syrup for up to a week.

Ginger extract

Cut ginger into cubes and blend, strain the pulp through a jam bag and bottle the juice. Keeps in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Lucky Liqueurs Tonka Bean Liqueur 27% ABV

Made with Brazillian Tonka Beans by Bramble’s new sister company, Lucky Liqueurs, this rich liqueur is a versatile ingredient that imparts notes of vanilla, marzipan and roasted caramel. It is available online at

Vanilla chai cordial

Brew a strong vanilla chai tea and use it to make a 1:1 sugar syrup, but balance it out with a 5 per cent malic acid solution — a common food additive that can be bought online. Malic is the acid found in apples so this cordial has a pleasant tartness.

Bramble Bar
16A Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JE