The following recipes have all been tried and tested (many times, just to be sure) by Mabel. If you can introduce Mabel to any new gin cakes, puddings, soups etc, please get in touch!
Pick sloes from blackthorn hedges in October or November, after the first frost.
Take about a 1lb (450g) of sloes or damsons to a 750 ml bottle of gin. Prick the sloes or damsons all over, then place in a large clean jar with the gin and 4oz (125g) sugar. Purists dictate that you use a silver pin or failing that, a thorn from blackthorn hedge to prick them but a darning needle appears to be just as effective. Stir well and leave in a dark place for 3 months. Shake the jar every other day or so. When ready, strain through muslin until the gin runs clear. Do not squeeze it or the gin will be cloudy. Pour into clean bottles and leave to mature (the gin, that is) till the next winter, as it improves with keeping.
Variation: add a couple of bits of lemon peel to the jar with the sloes.
See also Damson Gin Chocolates to find out what to do with the leftover fruit.
By contrast, we also have:
Take bottle of gin from fridge.
Apparently, it's a winner every time.
Squeeze out excess gin from the damsons left over from making Damson Gin, and take out the stones (if you have the energy). Drink the gin. Melt some good quality chocolate and stir in the damsons. Pile into little paper cases and refrigerate till set. Apparently this also works well with sloes but I haven't tried it (yet).
Stir 2.25 lbs sugar, 1.5 oz citric acid into 1.5 pints boiling water till dissolved. Add about 15 elderflower heads, shaken first to remove the insects and then snipped into the water. Finally, add 2 thinly sliced lemons. Stir and cover. Leave for 5 days, stirring daily. When ready, strain through scalded muslin into sterilised bottles. Seal and store in the fridge where it will keep for up to 12 months. Serve with gin and ice, or if you must, dilute 1 part cordial to 2-3 parts water, tonic or soda.
6oz caster sugar
Pared zest and juice of 2 limes
6 tablespoons of gin
15 fluid ozs of tonic water (not slimline)
Fresh lime and mint to decorate
Dissolve the sugar in 15 fluid ozs of water over a moderate heat. Stir in the lime zest and juice and boil for 5 mins to reduce. Set aside to cool, and then strain into a freezer-proof container and stir in the gin and tonic.
Freeze straightaway until it is slushy, then beat and return to the freezer. The alcohol prevents it from freezing hard so just before serving, spoon it out quickly and decorate with a sliver of lime and a mint leaf.
Last modified: Sat Jun 09 10:42:53 GMT Daylight Time 2012