Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Plum/Damson/Sloe Gin/Rum update

Well, this has certainly been a popular post. So popular that I felt that I probably ought to add a few more details to how we do this. First the basic recipe:
  • 1lb fruit
  • 6oz sugar
  • 75cl of gin or white rum
For the fruit I have used both frozen and fresh sloes or damsons. The quantities do not need to be exact. I have come across a lot of recipes that recommend pricking sloes to help them release their flavour, I never have. The process of freezing sloes does mean that they slightly expand and in theory this will break their skin just a little, it's not something I have actually noticed on the sloes themselves. I usually use frozen sloes just because it's an easy way to store them until I am ready to make the liqueur. I have also tried this with blueberries which gave an interesting bubble gum flavour. You could try other fruit too.

I use ordinary granulated sugar that I buy in 5kg bags, this is the one time of year that we use a lot of sugar. You could experiment with other types, they will all produce subtly different flavours. You can use more sugar if you want a sweeter drink but I would recommend that you stick to the recipe initially, or even use less. Sugar can always be added later but not taken away.

For the alcohol we usually use a supermarket own brand gin or white rum as the base. Having said that the sloe gin that I made last year using Gordon's gin was much nicer than the rest (though the rest was still good) so this year we purchased Gordon's and Bacardi whilst they were on special offer. I'm also using some supermarket own brand dark rum that was bought for us, I'm intrigued as to how this will turn out. We have tried vodka in the past, it wasn't a big success but then we don't usually drink vodka. You might like it!

You will need to use a container that is approximately double the size of the amount of alcohol you intend to use, this will give you a bit of space in there for shaking. For sloe gin I usually reuse the bottles that the alcohol comes in, for damsons or plums I find a container with a larger lid such as plastic storage boxes,  I'm currently using a 5 litre mineral water bottle from the supermarket that my son brought back from camping. Whatever you choose it needs to be watertight.

Place the fruit into the container. Pour the sugar over the fruit. I make a funnel out of paper to make this easier, I find that sugar gets stuck in plastic funnels. Finally I pour over the gin or white rum. Give it a shake daily until all of the sugar is dissolved then leave it for 1 to 3 months. I leave it in the back of a cupboard so that the sunlight does not affect it's colour. When you remember it's existence pour the liqueur off of the fruit and then bottle. My fruit goes into the compost bin though you could use them to make a second batch, the flavour won't be as strong but it's one way to make the sloes go further (I find that even the plums go really bitter and aren't pleasant for eating). Don't forget to have a taste of your drink, if you want it to be sweeter now is the time to add more sugar.

I would recommend sterilising bottles to store your fruit liqueur in. Glass bottles can go into a cool oven (130 degress) for 20 minutes after a good scrub. Lids can be sterilised in boiling water. Do not add cold liquids to hot bottles, let them cool down first.

Don't forget to keep a record of the ingredients that you use so that you can finesse the recipe for future years.

Enjoy your liqueur, if you start now they make great Christmas presents.

Original post: Plum/Damson Rum

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