Serves: Makes about 1 litre
When I found some damsons in a local fruit and vegetable shop there was only one option-to make damson gin ready in time for Christmas. Damsons are less fiddly than sloes and of course ripen earlier, so the gin is just about ready to drink by the end of December. If you can hold off drinking your 2019 batch for a while you’ll be rewarded with a real treat of a winter warmer. Freezing the fruit overnight avoids having to prick the skins but you can do this if you prefer. Thoughts on the quality of gin; I haven’t gone bargain basement but nor have I invested in a Silent Pool style gin but if you’ve won the lottery go for it by all means. And remember to use the boozy damsons once they have worked their magic on the gin-see the recipe below for details.
- 500g damsons, washed and dried
- 300g caster sugar
- 1 litre gin
- Put the damsons in a plastic bag and freeze overnight. The next day leave the fruit to thaw and then bash them around a little (I use a rolling pin) to break the skins.
- Put a third of the fruit in a large sterilised Kilner jar and cover with a third of the sugar. Repeat twice more. Pour over the gin and seal the jar. Leave in a cool, dark place for at least 8-10 weeks, shaking the gin roughly once a week to mix everything together. Strain through muslin into a clean, sterilised bottle. Don’t discard the damsons- you can stew them and remove the stones, cool the purée and then fold in some lightly whipped cream for a boozy fool.