Specialty Gin has really taken off in the last couple of years and it seems everyone is reclaiming the “Mother’s Ruin”. Visiting upmarket bars with shelves of unusual gin infusions or buying a delicious bottle for yourself can be eye-wateringly expensive!
But, did you know it’s cheap, quick and easy to make your own gin infusions at home?
Personally, I have fallen in love with Blueberry Gin as an occasional tipple served on its own over ice. It’s fruity, it’s sweet but a little bit sharp when the gin sneaks through. It’s a gorgeous deep purple colour and absolutely everyone who’s ever had a sample of my homemade stock asks if I have any more the next time they visit! I’ve even taken a bottle with me when travelling alone to a festival in Sweden to share with people I met and several of them have gone on to be good friends to this day. Hopefully that is mostly due to my easy going nature, but the gin certainly helped break the ice!
What you’ll need:
- 1l bottle of gin
- 2 cups blueberries – fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup sugar
- a sealable glass container big enough to hold all of the above
For the gin get the cheapest bottle you can find. This is one occasion where spending extra money on ingredients isn’t necessarily going to give you a better finish. You are going to overpower any of the subtle botanicals in an expensive bottle with the blueberry taste. Personally I get the own brand bottle which is usually the cheapest at all the UK supermarkets. If you can’t get a 1 litre bottle a 75cl one will do. You don’t have to adjust the recipe to compensate. This recipe is not an exact science!
Blueberries aren’t the cheapest of fruits. When it comes to gin infusions however you don’t need to worry too much about freshness, so feel free to go hunting in the supermarket markdowns for cut price packets. So long as they aren’t growing any strange mould then you can ignore the use by date. If there’s no marked down fresh ones head for the freezer aisle. Even if you buy fresh fruits it’s helpful to freeze them anyway as it helps break down the cell walls and releases the juice into the infusion better. My personal trick is to make a habit of browsing the marked down fruits and rounding up the blueberry packets as I find them and freezing them until I have enough to use for a batch of gin. The gardeners among you may even be lucky enough to grow your own blueberries.
What kind of sugar you use is a matter of convenience and your preference. It’s going to dissolve, help break down the cell walls, make the infusion a little “thicker” and provide some sweetness to the finished product. I’ve made this with white, golden and brown sugars with slightly different tastes as a result with none of them being “bad”. You can skip out the sugar if you want a sharper taste to the final product but it does take a week or so longer to infuse the flavours.
You are going to be storing your infusion in a jar for a few months and you don’t want to leave it exposed to contaminants, so a good seal is important. The seal is also important because you’re going to be shaking up your jar frequently and you don’t want to end up wearing your gin rather than drinking it! Clip top jars are ideal and are available from all kinds of places at all kinds of prices. I really love my Kilner jars for quality but equally couldn’t live without my IKEA ones. Pickling jars are also good, especially if you can blag them from your local chip shop or a restaurant for free. Don’t use a plastic container as your end product will take on its artificial taste.
This is staggeringly simple.
- Put the fruit in the jar
- Dump the sugar on top
- Pour in the gin
- Seal the jar and give it a good shake
Then you put the jar aside for a couple of months while the flavours infuse into the gin.
After 2 months all the sugar should have dissolved and you’ll have a deep rich purple liquid that smells strongly of not just the gin but also the blueberries. Pour out a little sample to check the taste. If you want a stronger flavour then close up the jar and leave it another few weeks. I have left jars infusing anything from a few weeks to almost a year, so don’t get too fussy about the timing.
When you’re happy with the taste strain the contents through some muslin into a clean glass bottle and you have your very own homemade blueberry gin.
Do you have questions about making your own blueberry gin? Have you tried making it? Do you do yours a different way? Feel free to comment below!