Make Your Own Blackberry Gin
December 31, 2015 | Food & Gardening
When I was in Wales a few years ago, I took a canal boat ride at Llangollen Moorings. The captain of the canal boat was named Patrick, and as he guided the boat along the canal, he was happy to share his opinion about any number of topics, including how to make your own blackberry gin. I took notes and filed them away. A few weeks ago, I happened to be reading The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg. There, they recommend the combination of blackberry, gin, and sage leaves. I went back to my notes to look up Captain Pat’s recipe for blackberry gin, and decided to give it a try.
Take a 1 litre glass jar with a lid. Fill it just past the halfway point with ripe blackberries. Top it off with gin and seal tightly. (Captain Pat recommends using the cheapest gin you can find. He says the more expensive brands “don’t taste right” for this recipe.) Keep in a cool, dark place and shake twice a day. After 8 weeks, strain out the berries. Taste for sugar and add some if you want it to be sweeter.
Use damson plums in place of blackberries.
Use sloe berries in place of blackberries, piercing each one first. Add a few drops of almond extract.
I made the blackberry version, and as I write this, the blackberries are still soaking. The gin won’t be ready for some weeks yet. I won’t add any sage leaves at this point – I’ll save that for later, when the blackberry gin is ready to be used in a cocktail.
Update: I soaked the blackberries for only a week, according to the advice given by Andrew Schloss in his book Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits -- a book I highly recommend. Even after only a week, the gin had turned a lovely rose-violet hue. Mixed with soda water, a slice of lemon, and a sage leaf, it made a harmonious yet flavorful combination that looks attractive in the glass. The gin itself contains a very subtle flavor of blackberries, but nothing so overwhelming that it could not be used in any cocktail where regular gin would be used, in my opinion. The berries that had been soaked tasted entirely of gin, so they could not be used for anything else. See my review of Schloss's book here.