When I was given a huge carrier bag full of “greengages” recently I knew something was amiss. Greengages are by their very name, green, whereas these were distinctly purple. So what were they? A quick munch also showed me they weren’t sloes – they have a tendancy to taste like a mouth full of hairspray. Instead, I’m narrowing these down to either wild plums or damsons – and most probably the latter due to their size and slight sourness.
Within minutes of them arriving Gosia had already claimed them for jam making (“I’m having those. I’ll need all of them”), but I had other ideas. Sloe Gin might not be possible quite yet (but I have found a Sloe tree a couple of streets away worth raiding), but Damson Gin is also delicious and ridiculously easy to make.
Now generally I love my gin served with tonic, so the typical syrupy damson gin you’ll find elsewhere isn’t what you’ll find here. If you prefer, you add 50g or so more sugar to start with, then check the taste by opening the jar and having a little sip every few weeks, adding a bit more if needed.
Recipe: Damson Gin
Summary: Damson Gin is a delicious alternative to the more well known Sloe Gin. This recipe isn’t too sweet so is great mixed with tonic water.
- 500g Damsons
- 175g White granulated sugar
- 700ml Bottle of Gin
- 1 litre jar (as pictured) or bottle
- Start by sterilising your jar; wash in hot soapy water then put into an oven at 150 degrees c until dry.
- While this is happening, wash your damsons, drying with kitchen paper.
- Next prick your damsons a few times with a fork; this helps get the juices flowing.
- Place the damsons in your jar, then pour in the sugar and finally the gin. Using a funnel helps prevent mess.
- Seal the jar, give it a shake to disperse the sugar and then place in a dark, cool cupboard. Give it a little shake every day until the sugar is totally dissolved.
- After 3 months remove the damsons with a slotted spoon (and eat them, greedily). At this stage you can either close the jar and drink within a year, or empty into bottles – it makes a perfect Christmas gift if you start now.
You can substitute the damsons for plums or sloes if desired; it’ll taste a little different, but still delicious. If anything, Sloe Gin is even better!
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 1