Follow the links for simple home-made gin recipes. Or have a look at the Recipe Index for lots of other brilliant easy recipes!
I started to make home-made flavoured gin recipes several years ago. Now I wonder why I didn’t start doing this sooner! Using shop-bought gin and a range of flavourings, you can create amazingly delicious liqueurs which taste better and are much cheaper than any ready-made versions. You can drink home-made gin liqueurs straight or use them as ingredients in cocktails or mixed drinks.
They are so simple to make. You literally just put the flavourings in a jar with the gin and some sugar and leave for a few weeks for the taste to develop. At the end of that time, remove the flavourings and you have a beautiful liqueur that will last indefinitely.
Many people, including me, use these fragrant flowers to make Elderflower Cordial but they can also be used to make beautiful floral-flavoured Elderflower Gin. Unlike some flavoured gins, such as Rhubarb Gin, which take a number of weeks to mature before they can be drunk, Elderflower Gin is ready the next day! It is great on its own or with a mixer, such as tonic, or with sparkling wine.
Elderflowers are a good starting point for new “foragers” as they are so widely available and easily recognisable. They are the blossoms of the elder (Sambucus nigra) which is a small tree or shrub commonly found in woodlands and gardens throughout the UK. The small creamy-white flowers are arranged in big clusters and bloom in late May or early June. In autumn, they turn into purple elderberries which also have a range of culinary uses.
Traditionally used to make rhubarb crumbles or rhubarb fools, its sweet and sour taste makes a wonderful flavouring for gin. Love it or hate it, rhubarb is now in season. Cheap to buy in the shops and probably over-abundant if you have a rhubarb crown in your in your garden.
In the past few years, there has been an increase in the popularity of flavoured gins, including rhubarb, produced by niche producers and selling for a premium in supermarkets. I think home-made and traditional is best in terms of both flavour and price, so why not try making your own? It is simple to make and, if you do it yourself, and you can play with flavour combinations to produce fantastic variations such as rhubarb and vanilla gin, rhubarb and ginger gin or rhubarb and orange gin. You may think about other combinations – it is all about producing something that suits your taste!
(If you don’t drink alcohol – or are looking for a drink to suit teetotallers or children – check out my recipe for Rhubarb Cordial)
Adding the flavour of fresh rhubarb to gin creates a fantastic drink that is good either on its own or as a base for cocktails.
Ingredients (basic recipe):
1 kg rhubarb stalks
400 g caster sugar
800 ml good quality gin
If you wish to try different flavours you could add one of the following additions: 1 vanilla pod or 5 slices of fresh root ginger or 5 pieces of thin orange peel
Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly. Cut into 3 cm pieces.
Mix the rhubarb pieces thoroughly with the sugar in a large bowl.
Spoon the rhubarb and sugar into a sterilised jar. Leave for 24 hours to allow the rhubarb to macerate in the sugar and release its juices.
At this stage, you can add additional flavour ingredients if you wish. Simply add a vanilla pod, fresh root ginger slices or thin orange peel (taken from an orange using a potato peeler avoiding the pith) to the jar.
Add the gin to the jar of rhubarb and sugar. Shake thoroughly to ensure it is mixed.
Leave in a cool, dry, dark place for four weeks.
At the end of that time, the gin is ready to drink! You can strain the gin into sterilised bottles through a muslin cloth held in a funnel and it will keep for approximately six months. Alternatively, you can leave the rhubarb pieces in the gin but, if you do this, you must drink it quickly as it will turn bitter after a couple of months.
Although it only takes 20 minutes preparation time, you will need to allow 24 hours for the rhubarb to macerate in the sugar and, once you have added the gin, it will take a further four weeks to allow the flavour to develop.
Rhubarb Gin can be drunk on its own, combined with soda or tonic or used as a based for Rhubarb Gin Cocktails. It is also good poured over vanilla ice-cream to make a quick pudding.