Summer preserving: Damson gin

Make your own Damson gin.

Make your own Damson gin.

Drunk plums: it just doesn’t get better than that!

It’s easy to steep the small, sour, purple fruit of ‘Damson’ plums (and other small stonefruit, such as cherries) in booze. Just wipe their skins clean, prick them once with a kebab stick, and pack into large glass preserving jars. For every litre jar of plums, add up to 1 cup sugar (just shake it into the jar to fill up the gaps between the plums). Then top up with cheap gin. Steep for at least three months, shaking every few days until all the sugar has dissolved.

After six months or so, strain and taste. If the liqueur isn’t smooth enough for your liking, add a little extra sugar syrup. Then devour the wrinkly plums: they’re wonderful served with a creamy rice pudding for a decadent dessert, or on your winter porridge, or drained, patted dry and dipped in melted chocolate for homemade truffles.

Damson gin is one of my favourite things to have in the pantry, not least because a bottle of plonk makes a fabulous (and almost universally appreciated) emergency gift when you need one for a dinner party, forgotten birthday or anniversary… and you can’t be bothered driving to the shops.

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3 thoughts on “Summer preserving: Damson gin

  1. My father used to make sloe gin, using the tiny, bitter wild plums that grew in the hedgerow at the bottom of our garden – I was never quite old enough just yet to be allowed to sample it!
    In the absence of any damsons locally I have just packed a jar with a dozen small, very ripe Black Boy peaches and chucked in a cup of CocoRoselle, the “organic, low GI, raw, coconut sugar made from crystallised sap of coconut blossoms”. I still have a half bottle of my non-duty free gin left so am off to buy more jars tomorrow and will keep looking out for damsons, and other ideas!
    Will report on results in 6 months – if I can wait that long …

    • Who even knew that coconuts had blossoms! Just one word of caution: did you remove the stones from the peaches? (I assume you did, as Blackboys are freestone.) If you didn’t, you may wish to do so as they can cause some unpleasant flavours to develop when steeped, and there’s some debate as to whether the kernels release toxins too.

      • No I didn’t – duh! Should have remembered as I usually steep cut up black boy peaches in Riesling or Gewurtz. Will go and do that now and have a sneaky sample … !

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