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What’s better than freshly picked blackberries? Blackberry drinks and cocktails! They can be very easy to make, and this simple blackberry gin recipe helps preserve that flavor right through winter. It uses just three ingredients and is perfect for late summer cocktails or tucked away to enjoy as a holiday tipple.
Across the country, hedgerows are bursting with an abundance of blackberries. Harvested between August and mid-October, blackberries grow wild as brambles throughout the northern hemisphere. Though they’re delicious on their own or baked into a pie, blackberries are great for preserving for the winter. Jams and jellies, of course, but also preserved in alcohol. That’s what makes this blackberry gin recipe so great. It’s not only delicious and a special treat, but it preserves that taste of autumn abundance for many months to come.
When nature is in such a giving mood, we should certainly reap the rewards our hedgerows are providing. Blackberries are probably the easiest wild food to identify and forage. They grow wild in both urban and rural areas, and many of us have memories of blackberry picking as children. I can’t think of any berry that they could be mistaken for, and not only are the berries delicious and the juices sweeter as we move into September, but they are also a fantastic source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. The sweeter the blackberries, the better this blackberry gin recipe will be.
Grow Your Own Blackberries
Although you can forage for berries to make this blackberry gin recipe, you can also grow your own. I do, and love the convenience of jumbo-sized berries in the garden. I grow an unknown variety of thornless blackberry that is about double the size of a wild berry. It’s in a league of its own! If you’d like to grow them too, blackberries prefer full sun but can tolerate a little shade, making them somewhat versatile. My own plants came from cuttings from another gardener, and they root easily. It’s easy to propagate soft fruit! You can also buy pot-grown blackberries from nurseries or bare-root plants in winter. Soak them in water before planting and water them in well after.
Most varieties require a five-foot spacing, but even one plant will provide a plentiful crop. There’s a little bit of management required as you’ll need to grow them up a network of wires or a blackberry trellis. It’s not difficult, though, and all you need to do is tie the new growth in and cut back the old canes to soil level each winter. They also enjoy a good mulch with compost each year. When it comes time to harvest, pick juicy, fully black berries on a warm and sunny day. Leave any that are green or red to continue ripening.
Simple Blackberry Gin Recipe
Blackberries, as fresh berries, have a short shelf life. You really need to use them as soon as possible after you pick them or freeze them to use later. Freezing is my go-to method for preserving fresh berries since you can freeze today and make jam, pie, crumbles, and even blackberry gin later in the year! My freezer is currently filled with raspberries, blueberries, bilberries, and various other fruits. Whether you make this blackberry-infused gin today or later, it’s the perfect way to see out the end of summer or even to keep until Christmas. It’s also a great way to use up a cheap bottle of gin!
Once made, you can enjoy it in the same way as a classic gin and tonic or use it to make cocktail recipes. Fill a glass with ice, pour over a shot of blackberry gin, and then top it up with tonic water. For a citrusy twist, add fresh lime juice and fresh mint leaves and substitute tonic water for club soda to create a blackberry gin smash.
You could also use homemade blackberry gin to make a blackberry gin fizz, which you’ll need a shaker for. Fill it with ice, a shot of blackberry gin, half a shot of fresh lemon juice, and an egg white, and shake it until the outside is cold. Strain the liquid into a pint glass filled with more ice, then top it up with sparkling water. Garnish it with more blackberries or citrus slices if you wish.
Grow Your Own Drinks
If you enjoy this blackberry gin recipe, you might also like this easy-to-make pink rhubarb gin recipe. It’s sweet, mellow, and has a spectacular color. Here are even more delicious homemade drinks for you to make:
- Rhubarb Wine Recipe
- Homemade Kahlua Coffee Liqueur
- Elderflower Cordial Recipe
- Blackcurrant Liqueur Recipe
Simple Blackberry Gin Recipe
- 250 g ripe blackberries (about 2 cups)
- 70 cl gin (about 3 cups / No need for a premium brand, but not one with complex botanicals)
- 110 g white sugar (about 1/2 cup)
- Place the blackberries in a sterilized jar and cover with the sugar. Add the gin and give the jar a good shake. Place the jar in a dark place, such as a kitchen cupboard.
- Give the jar a shake every so often over the next few days until the sugar has dissolved.
- Leave to mature. It’s drinkable in four weeks, but it can be left for three months.
- Strain the gin through a sieve and/or muslin cloth and try not to break up the blackberries*. Have a taste, and if you think it needs it, stir in a little more sugar and shake until it’s dissolved. Pour the blackberry gin into a bottle and seal.
- After four weeks, the gin will be a beautiful dark red in color. It still holds a boozy strength but with the sweet and fruity tone of the blackberries. For the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail, serve a double measure chilled over ice and topped up with tonic.
- If you leave the gin for three months, it mellows and the full fruitiness of the blackberries comes through. It can even be smooth enough to serve over ice as a liqueur.