A selection of fruit gins you can make if, like me, you can’t find any sloes!
Preparation 5 minutes initially, 2-3 months waiting time!
Amounts for gin are approximate as it’s really just what will fit in the bottle when everything else is in there. Try to use a fairly decent gin that you would actually consider drinking normally as no amount of fruit and sugar will mask the paint stripper notes of a nasty spirit. I usually use Gordon’s.
Blackberry and Pear Gin
- 200g blackberries
- 1 pear (I used a Poire William)
- 200g sugar
- 400mls gin
- 500g damsons
- 225g sugar
- 400mls gin
- 125g raspberries
- 50g sugar
- 250ml gin
- Sealable glass bottles (they have to be glass as the alcohol may starts to eat away at plastic if kept for a long time).
- Chopping board and knife (if using pear)
Start by sterilizing your bottles. There are several ways to do this including putting them in the dishwasher on a high temperature and boiling them in a large pan of water. I personally just clean the outside with soap and warm water (the outside doesn’t matter as much!), then fill the bottles with boiling water from the kettle, allow them to cool for a bit (till you can handle the bottle), pour out the water and then let them air dry. Don’t forgot to do the lids as well (I just submerge mine in a tub of boiling water)!
When you have your nice sterile bottles you can begin the fun. First add the fruit. For soft fruit like blackberries and raspberries you can put them straight in. For stone fruit like the damsons you should prick the skin several times and then place them in whole and for things like pears you need to slice them into wedges or matchsticks (the exact shape/size will probably depend on the size of the neck of your bottle!).
Next in goes the sugar. As pouring sugar into a narrow bottle opening is a bit fiddly (and messy!) I use a funnel to get the sugar in. Finally you top the bottle up with gin getting as much as you can in the bottle. If you find that due to the fruit/sugar the gin isn’t quite getting to the bottom leaving pockets of air there you should try to move the contents around with a skewer and the red top up the bottle.
Once everything is in seal the bottle and give it all a good shake to dissolve the sugar. It won’t all dissolve at first, so for the first day shake it every couple of hours. After that the bottle need to stored in a cool dark place and shaken once a day for the first two weeks and about once a week thereafter.
Ideally they should be left for at least 2 months to build up a decent flavour, but you can leave them much longer if you prefer. It’s a matter of personal choice, but I prefer to remove the fruit once the gin is ready. To do this I strain the liquid through muslin into a jug, throw out the fruit, resterilize the bottle and then pour the gin back in.