…AKA a photo a day: August 19th…
Yesterday was all about jamming and chutneying. But even after making 10 jars of the blackberry and apple jam, we still had plenty left over.
With the rest of the blackberries, I decided to make a couple of bottles of fruit vodka.
We have some seriously cheap, seriously nasty, seriously eye-watering bottles of vodka that have been sitting in our larder ever since my 30th birthday party nearly five years ago. I massively over-ordered on the booze, and for a while went through a phase of cooking everything in a vodka sauce (which is pretty tasty, actually) but somehow these two bottles had escaped that mania unscathed.
But they are much, much too vile to be drunk alone (I hasten to point out, for my birthday they were made into Moscow Mules, I didn’t just force all my friends to drink cheap and nasty vodka on its own) so the addition of some fruit is the perfect solution.
It’s a very simply recipe, based on sloe gin, but which can be adapted to vodka or pretty much any fruit as well.
- A litre bottle of gin or vodka, two thirds full
- 200g of sugar
- Approximately 300g of blackberries
What to do:
1. Pour the sugar into the bottle of vodka, using a funnel
2. Shake well (with the lid on, obviously) until the sugar is well dissolved
3. Stuff the fruit into the top until the bottle is completely full up. This was around 300g of blackberries in this case, but just keep on going until the bottle is full. Shake again.
4. Store in cool dark place. Check on it every few days or once a week for the first month or so and give it a good shake.
5. Leave it for at least three months before drinking. Ideally, you could leave it about two years for the flavours to really infuse the vodka. But, I should say, the very best sloe gin I ever drank was 21 years old.
You can use all sorts of other fruits (as well as substituting the vodka with gin, of course…) Keep the sugar / booze / fruit ratios the same, but any of these would work too:
- Cherry vodka. I made some of this last year with the sparse crop from my new morello cherry tree. (18 cherries, if you’re wondering.) Cut the cherries in half and you can either leave the pip in or remove it. If you leave it in, it tastes a bit like almonds as well, which is actually very delicious. This definitely takes a while for the flavours to infuse though. We tested ours after eight months and it was quite unpleasant. Now, about 14 months later, it’s really good…
- Sloe gin. This is the classic, of course. Prick the sloes all over before adding. Sloes are ready to be harvested in Autumn time, so keep an eye out for them soon. The gin you make should be ready for drinking in time for Christmas, so this can be a perfect present.
- Damson gin. Again, prick the damsons before adding to the gin.
- Apple vodka. This was a new one for me, but I also made a bottle of it yesterday. I had some slightly unripe windfall apples in the garden, so I decided to try a bottle and see how it goes. If you’re still reading this blog in 18 months, I’ll give you the verdict! This is what they looked like before being mixed together:
Tell me, do you have any other great fruit / booze combinations I should try?
- If you’re after something else to make with apples, take a look at this apple and plum compote, apple and sage jelly (my absolute favourite) or this unusual apple curd.