So, here comes the time of year for the “foraging” part, although I’m not sure picking blackberries overspilling onto the allotment from the adjoining railway line really counts as proper foraging.
Anyhow, last year, we tried out blackberry vodka, raspberry vodka, damson gin, sloe gin, and earlier this year, elderflower gin. Have to say the latter was pretty disgusting but not sure I got the recipe quite right. Of all the above, the blackberry vodka and sloe gin were definitely the ones to make again.
Flavouring vodka this way is really simple. All you need is a bottle of vodka, blackberries, sugar and something to mix them in.
Per litre of vodka use approx 500g of washed blackberries (when picking this equates nicely to a 450g ice cream container) and 200g of caster sugar.
If you have a spare vodka bottle you could split the vodka between 2 bottles, and add half the blackberries and sugar to each. Alternatively sterilize a larger container such as a 1.5 litre Kilner or Le Parfait Jar and pour in the vodka, followed by the blackberries and sugar.
Ensure your bottles or jar are tightly closed and then shake to dissolve the sugar. This may take a little while and it’s a good idea to come back to the jar and give it a shake every day for a couple of weeks to make sure it’s all nicely mixed.
After 6-8 weeks you can strain out the blackberries and bottle the vodka. You can then eat the blackberries with ice cream, or perhaps use them with some more blackberries in jam.
Sterilizing the jar:
There are a number of ways to do this:
You can either use the jar fresh from a hot dishwasher.
You can wash in hot soapy water and then dry on a 140 degree C oven for about 10 mins. (Take care removing it and allow to cool a little before trying to fit the seal.)
You can sterilize with sterilising powder from a brewing shop. according to the instructions on the packet,
The rubber seal should be scalded in boiling water.