Sunday, 14 July 2013

Strawberry (or any other soft fruit) liqueur: absolutely definitely NOT cheaper than chips in any shape or form

. . . but so, so nice.  A gift of a recipe and dead easy!  It's hard to go wrong with this one, to be honest.
  I've hunted around and there are lots of recipes on the internet but I come back to this one every time.  It's easy, it always works and my dad gave it to me!  Three very good reasons, especially the last.  After the minimum of work this afternoon, I now have two litre bottles full, one with a vodka base and one with a gin base, starting their long, six - no - five and a half-ish - month journey to Christmas (sorry) delight.  That is, assuming I don't drink it before then, of course!  Oh, and if you're feeling very generous and kind hearted, it makes lovely Christmas gifts, decanted into small bottles.

I've given the quantities for strawberry and the figures in brackets are for any other soft fruit, such as raspberries, blackberries, black/redcurrants, etc.  Maybe, in a couple of years, I can use my own tayberries.

Enough daydreaming!  Here's the recipe!

200g strawberries, hulled  (150g)
160g granulated sugar  (same)
750ml gin or vodka, reasonable quality - don't use the molto cheapo stuff but you don't have to use top of the range either.  I used Morrison's stuff, medium priced. (same)

A very clean 1 litre bottle with an air tight lid.  I used a Pimms bottle and a vodka bottle - remember to label them.
I also used a potato masher, a narrow necked funnel, a wide based bowl and the handle of a spoon.

Pick over the fruit discarding any bad bits and wash if necessary.  
Put the weighed fruit and sugar in a bowl and mash well together.
Put the funnel in the neck of the bottle and slowly pour (or ladle) in the resulting mush.  If it sticks, push it through with a spoon handle or whatever comes to hand.
Pour in 750mls of vodka or gin (it should come more or less to the top of the bottle).  Screw on the lid, wipe the outside if necessary, label (e.g. Strawberry gin (or vodka), July 13) and give the contents a jolly good shake.

Shake every day until the sugar is dissolved and then store in a cool, dark place until you can resist it no longer (or until Santa comes a-calling).  I give it the occasional shake when I remember.  The longer you leave it, the better it is (they tell me - I haven't tried this myself).

Before drinking, pour through muslin or a coffee filter.  That should get rid of the tiny little strawberry pips.  Drink on its own (very powerful stuff which slips down rather too easily) or diluted with tonic or sparkling white or champers (so, so gorgeous)
The debris makes a jolly good tipsy trifle - don't throw it away!

Dad says:

If you are making blackberry gin remove the fruit after 3 months (pour through muslin) to stop the woody taste developing and mature for at least a year (yeah, sure!!).  
He also says the only really crucial thing is the ratio of sugar to gin/vodka.  If it's not trifle material, I would push the residue through my mouli to get rid of the seeds and use it for something if only a sauce for ice cream.  No point in wasting jolly good stuff, after all!  See - there's a little bit of frugality there!

I'll drink to that.  Cheers!

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