How to make foraged fruit liquer
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Can I use something other than sloes to make foraged fruit liquer? Jonny Crockett replies yes, and tells you how!
Q: This year, I intend to make a variety of liqueurs from hedgerow fruits, having been inspired by a shooting companion who makes outstanding sloe gin. Can you suggest any fruits other than sloes which could be used –and do you have any good recipes?
TONY JACKSON replies: Excellent liqueurs can be prepared by simply soaking hedgerow fruit in gin, brandy or vodka. You can use both sloes and blackberries to make a delicious drink, ideal for a cold day’s shooting. The method is virtually fool-proof, as the alcohol prevents fermentation and so the fruit cannot deteriorate. Apart from the fruit itself, you will require a large Kilner jar and a pound or so of white sugar, a straining cloth and several clean empty wine bottles.
In the late summer, pick sufficient ripe hedgerow blackberries and/or sloes to half-fill the Kilner jar and then add half a pound of sugar and enough vodka to fill the jar to the lid for the sloe gin. You can also add three or four blanched almonds. You can use either vodka or brandy with the blackberries plus two cloves and a small piece of blanched cinnamon. Now give the jar a really good shake and set it aside in a dark cupboard.
Twice a week, give the jar a shake and after two months, strain the liquid through a fine cloth into a container with a lip and pour into a bottle. Label the bottle with the contents and date and set aside.
Now comes the hardest part: refrain from the temptation of testing the liqueur! Ideally, leave it for at least six months, but preferably a year. The resulting liqueur drink is delicious!