Make Flavored Alcohol
Use ripe produce and gin or vodka with the highest proof for the best quality, flavor and preservation. Freeze the fruits until needed — freezing ruptures the fruit skins and allows the juices to flow out. Plan to start early — these wonderfully warming drinks take three and a half months to mature, and then continue to improve in flavor. We used gin and cherries, but you can experiment with other combinations, such as sloe gin or blackberry vodka.
1 bottle of gin
2 cups fresh or frozen fruit (such as raspberries, cherries or blackberries)
1 cup superfine sugar
a few cloves (optional)
1 stick of cinnamon (optional)
a few drops of almond extract (optional)
1 large, wide-necked jar, sterilized, or 2 empty gin bottles
1. Pour the gin, fruit, sugar, spices and almond extract into the sterilized jar, or divide the ingredients equally between two bottles using a funnel (there's no need to sterilize a vodka or gin bottle if the alcohol has just been poured out of it). Seal and store in a cool, dark place.
2. Give the jar or bottles a shake daily for the first two weeks and then weekly for a further three months. Take a sip every now and then and add more sugar if needed.
3. After three and half months, or when the taste is to your liking, strain the ingredients using the muslin bag and bamboo sticks. Collect the liquid in a bowl, then re-bottle it.
To make sloe gin, replace the cherries with sloes and prick each sloe berry with a skewer before adding to the gin.
Blackberry or Damson Vodka
To make blackberry or damson (Italian plum) vodka, replace the gin with vodka and the fruit with blackberries or damsons.
DK - A Greener Christmas, 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited