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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 flavour 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, the hedgerows are bursting with an abundance of blackberries. Harvested between August and Mid-October, blackberries grow wild throughout Europe. As many of us will do over the coming months, archaeological evidence suggests humans have enjoyed this delicious fruit for over 8,000 years. 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 but it saves that juicy flavour right into winter.
Blackberry picking in late summer brings nostalgic childhood memories. Our family would meet every other Sunday at my grandparents’ for lunch. My cousins and I were loaded up with pots, pans and carrier bags and sent off into the fields to harvest wild blackberries for my grandmother to turn into a crumble for dessert. Many of the berries were too much of a temptation and we would often return with the red stains of our crime around our mouths.
Pick Wild Blackberries or Grow Your Own
When nature is in such a giving mood, we should certainly reap the rewards our hedgerows are providing. Not only are the berries delicious and sweeter as we move into September, but they are also a fantastic source of vitamin C and dietary fibre too. The sweeter the blackberries, though, and the better this blackberry gin recipe will be.
There are now 2,000 varieties of blackberries worldwide. If you really enjoy these dark juicy fruits, there are some wonderful hybrid varieties you can grow on the allotment or in the kitchen garden. They will also provide much more flavour than those that grow wild. One of the most popular varieties is Loch Ness. It produces a high yield of blackberries, it’s thornless and because the plants have a compact habitat, it is a perfect option for smaller spaces.
Grow Your Own Blackberries
Although you can forage for berries to make this blackberry gin recipe, you can also grow your own. Blackberries also tolerate a little shade which makes them a good pick for that corner of the garden you just don’t know what to do with. You can buy pot grown blackberries or bare root bushes in the winter. Soak them in water before planting and water them in well. Most varieties require a spacing of 1.5 metres 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. Tie the new growth in, cut back the old canes to soil level and they will enjoy a good mulch in the winter.
Blackberries have a short life. You really need to use them as soon as possible after a harvest. It’s one of the reasons they tend to be expensive to buy in the supermarkets. However, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem as they are a versatile ingredient in the kitchen from crumble, pie and homemade jam, they even work in salads too.
Simple Blackberry Gin Recipe
I’ve found another use for them in the form of gin. Blackberry infused gin is the perfect way to see out the end of summer or even to keep until Christmas.
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 sterilised jar and cover with the sugar. Add the gin and give the jar a good shake. Place the jar in a dark place, like 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 4 weeks but it can be left for 3 months.
- Strain the gin through a muslin cloth, try not to break up the blackberries. Pour the liquid into a bottle. If you think it needs it, add a little more sugar and shake until it’s dissolved. Tip: Though you won’t need the actual blackberries after this stage you don’t have to discard them. Pop them into a glass of Prosecco for a blackberry gin cocktail.
- After 4 weeks, the gin is beautiful dark red in colour. It still holds a boozy strength but with a fruity tone of the blackberries. For the perfect, refreshing summer cocktail, serve a double measure chilled over ice and topped up with tonic.
- If your leave the gin for 3 months, it mellows and the full fruitiness of the blackberries comes through and it’s smooth enough to serve over ice as a liqueur. An excellent addition is a cinnamon stick which can be added to the gin at the same time as the sugar.
Grow Your Own Drinks
If you enjoy this blackberry gin recipe, you might also like this easy to make Pink Rhubarb Gin. It’s sweet, mellow and has a spectacular colour. Here are even more delicious ‘drinks from the garden’ recipes for you to make: