Sunday, 21 October 2012

Damson gin & vodka

I have no excuses for how long it's been since my last post. And because you've been patiently waiting around for so long, I offer you a drink (or two).

The only catch is that you will have to wait a little while for it. Yes, more waiting, but it will be worth it!

Damsons are in season at the moment, and there are lots of places around England where you can go foraging for them. I took the lazy option and purchased some lovely looking damsons from a fruit & vegetable shop in Bakewell.

Damsons are best picked after the first frost of the winter, however don't be deterred by the fact that we haven't yet had a frost. The frost helps the skin on the damsons break down more easily once they are place in the alcohol. You can give your damsons a fake frost by simply placing them in the freezer for at least 24 hours.

Damson Gin / Damson Vodka
Recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

I'm making two variations of Hugh's recipe - one with gin and the other with vodka.

1 kg damsons
500 grams sugar
1 litre gin or vodka

Firstly, you will need a clean glass jar that is water tight. I used 3 litre Kilner jars, but you could probably get away with a 2.5 litre jar.

Using a pin or toothpick, prick each damson a few times and then place them into your jar. Add the sugar and then your alcohol of choice.

Seal the jar and turn a few times to help the sugar dissolve (to turn the jar, slowly turn it upside down and then back again).

Store the jar in a cool, dark place.

Turn the jar once per day until all of the sugar has dissolved. After this, you can turn the jar about once per week.

According to Hugh, in 6 months it will be ready for bottling. Once bottled, your damson gin/vodka will be ready just in time for Christmas 2013!

I'll post an update when damson gin & vodka are ready for bottling.