- 1 x 75cl bottle of Gin
- 1 lb bag of Damsons
- 8oz Sugar
A spare Straining bag, a large jar with lid (or use cling film), wooden spoon.
Andy Hamilton in his book Booze For Free extols the virtues of Damson Gin as ‘on a par with any serious Whisky’ – and I can’t argue. It really is the King of Liqueurs, the Emperor of Foraged Infusions if you prefer. Give it a go.
Damson Gin would normally take 4-5 months using whole Damsons.I make this using Damsons that have been prepared (sliced up after washing) and then frozen in 1 lb bags. Very handy during the Winter to keep your stocks of Damson Gin topped up!
Prepare the Damsons: Wash the Damsons in batches in very hot water to remove the bloom. Dry on a tea towel then use a sharp knife and halve them, checking for any that have been housing a grub or maggot (the inside will be a dark brown & mushy). Discard the rotten ones (unless you want to make Damson Gin with a maggot – Tequila style!). Freeze the halved Damsons (keep the stones) in 1 lb bags (for Gin or Vodka) or 4 lb/6 lb bags (for wine, jam, ketchup etc).
Defrost your bag of Damsons
Put the Sugar in a large jar and pour on the Gin (or Vodka).
Stir to dissolve as much Sugar as you can.
Put a straining bag into the jar all the way to the bottom.
Carefully pour into the bag the Damsons (which will be very mushy).
Use the handle of a wooden spoon and stir up the fruit.
Put on the lid to seal (see photo) and store in a dark place, taking out the jar to stir the fruit once or twice a day.
After 10 days taste and add more sugar if you prefer it sweeter.
Gently raise the straining bag up so the liquid starts to pour into the jar.
Gently squeeze the Damsons to extract as much juice as possible (this may make your Gin cloudy so how much you squeeze is up to you – squeeze as if my life depends on it).
The straining bag prevents the fruit turning your Damson Gin ‘lumpy’ i.e. if you don’t like the idea of bits floating about in it then use the bag to make something a bit more refined.
You now have a jar of lovely Damson Gin ready to drink, store or dab behind your ears.