Home-made Damson Gin
Home-made Damson Gin liqueur is probably my favourite of all the flavoured gins that I make. The sharp sweet-sour fruit produces a liqueur with a brilliant punch of flavour. It is also a beautiful ruby red colour. If you make it in September when damsons are in season, you can enjoy drinking it at Christmas and New Year!
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Why make your own flavoured gin?
It is extremely easy to make your own flavoured gin. You just add the fruit or other flavourings to the alcohol, add some sugar and leave it for a few months to transform into a delicious liqueur. Making your own also allows you to experiment with flavours and you know exactly what went into it.
There are lots of flavoured gin liqueurs available in the shops now. Many of them are delicious but they are often sold at premium prices. I find making my own very satisfying as you get a premium product at a low price. It is also a great way of using an over-supply of seasonal produce. Flavoured gins also keep for a very long time so if you make a batch in late summer or autumn, you can be sipping it all through the winter.
In praise of damsons
Damsons are small, dark purple fruit which have a strong sour flavour. Their sourness prevents them being eaten raw. However, they are excellent in a range of cooked dishes such as jams and preserves or fruit pies when their sourness is balanced by sugar.
This autumn I have been exploring the wonderful world of home-made gin. Inspired by the Rhubarb Gin and Elderflower Gin that I made in the spring, I started to think about which autumn fruits might also make a good flavoured gin.
Having made an excellent Blackberry Gin and Plum Gin in August, I started to wonder if there are any other seasonal fruit that I could use to make flavoured gin. In my local greengrocer, I spotted some damsons – small, dark purple sour plums which cannot be eaten raw but need to be cooked (with sugar) to bring out their flavour. I hadn’t seen them for years but they immediately brought back memories as my mother had a prolific damson tree in her garden. It occurred to me that they would make a good gin flavouring.
If you can’t find damsons, and they can be hard to source, you can make a great Plum Gin instead. However, if you do see them in a shop or market when they are in season in September, they are worth buying as they are great in jams and fruit pies as well as gin.
What you need to know about making Damson Gin
- You can use any kind of gin in this recipe. I generally use a mid-range supermarket brand. You don’t want to use a really top-class gin – better just to drink that with some tonic – but on the other hand you don’t want to use something that tastes like lighter fluid! If you don’t have any gin available, you can substitute vodka. You just need an alcohol base that will absorb all the delicious fruity flavour of the damsons.
- You need to allow four weeks for the flavour of the damsons to transfer into the liquid. However, you can leave them in for up to two months. The longer the damsons remain in the alcohol, the more intense the final flavour. Once the fruit is removed, the gin will last for at least a year.
- I prefer to drink this gin liqueur on its own with no mixers. However, you can use it as an ingredient in cocktails. I have some recipes for Rhubarb Gin Cocktails where damson gin could be substituted for the rhubarb gin.
Other home-made gin
I love making fruit-flavoured gin and have lots of gin recipes. It is the perfect way to use seasonal fruit and flowers, at a time when there is often an over-supply, and preserve the wonderful flavour to enjoy later in the year. Some of my favourites are Blackberry Gin, Rhubarb Gin, Elderflower Gin and Plum Gin.
Home-made Damson Gin liqueur recipePrint
This home-made Damson Gin liqueur is so easy to make and tastes delicious. Its ruby red colour and sweet-sour flavour makes it the perfect winter drink!
- 500 g (1 lb) fresh damsons
- 250 g (8 oz) caster sugar
- 500 ml (1 pint) gin
- Wash the damsons. Prick them with a fork and then cut them in half without removing the stones.
- Place the damsons in a sterilised jar.
- Add the sugar and gin and shake to mix together. The gin must cover the top of the damsons.
- Put the lid on the jar.
- Keep it in a cool, dark place for four weeks.
- At the end of that time, the gin is ready to drink! Strain the gin into a sterilised bottle through a muslin cloth held in a funnel and discard the fruit.
You can sterilise your jar by washing it in warm, soapy water, rinsing well and then drying off for 15 minutes in an oven set at 140C/120C fan/gas 1.
Although it only takes 15 minutes preparation time, you will need to allow four weeks to allow the flavour to develop before you drink the gin
Keywords: damsons, gin
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