Damsons have started appearing on Otley market over the last few weeks, this means one thing in our household, damson gin time! Made now it should be just about ready for Christmas! Personally I prefer damson gin to sloe gin, it’s a little sweeter and they’re also easier to get hold of. I bought 2lb and put them in the freezer where I have to confess that they joined the bag I bought last year…
I put them in the freezer so I can make it when I’m ready however it is meant to save on pricking each damson as the freezing process is supposed to split the skins. This was a tip given to my sister by a professional Damson Gin maker! I have to say that I didn’t find any split damsons so I still had to prick them all.
When the latest Lakeland catalogue fell through my letterbox I spotted a large Kilner jar with a tap at the bottom, my immediate thought when I saw it was ‘Oooh, damson gin jar!!’ I decided to wait for a trip to the Lake District so I could visit their shop in Windermere and check it out. It didn’t disappoint! With the name Kilner you know it will be well made, the tap feels secure and the wide Kilner style spring lid means its easy to put all the ingredients in (much easier than a demijohn which was my usual jar before) I can make it in the jar and then serve it via the tap!
There are lots of recipes for making damson gin but this is mine, easy to remember and not too fussed on exact quantities;
1lb fruit (damsons, blackberries, sloes…) fruit such as damsons or sloes need to be pricked with a fork to allow the juices to seep out.
1lb white sugar
1 pint gin (I use supermarkets own brand)
Add all the ingredients into a large jar or demijohn, shake daily until sugar is dissolved. I prefer to leave it 2 to 3 months before drinking, it improves with age.
In the Kilner jar above I put 2l gin, 2kg sugar and 4lb damsons, the jar holds 8L in total, just to give an idea of the quantity made.
I made blackberry gin a few years ago which was very nice, I also attempted toffee vodka last year having been told by a doctor at work that you just add Wurthers Original toffees to vodka, so far this has been unsuccessful, I’ve just added some brown sugar to see if that will rescue it. Raspberry gin is a very pretty pale pink colour but I haven’t tried making it yet.
These make great presents if you decant it into pretty bottles, kitchenware shops often have a good selection of inexpensive bottles with stoppers.
Please share any good recipes you’ve tried.