Make Flavored Alcohol

Preserve the taste of summer by adding fruit to gin or vodka and allowing the fruit to infuse the alcohol till winter. Poured into a decorative bottle, this delicious concoction is perfect for holiday entertaining or as a handmade gift.
Cherry-Flavored Cocktail

Cherry-Flavored Cocktail

Poured into a decorative bottle, this delicious concoction is perfect for holiday entertaining or as a handmade gift. Use ripe produce and gin or vodka with the highest proof for the best quality, flavor and preservation.

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.

Ingredients

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
muslin bag
bamboo sticks

Directions

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.

Sloe Gin
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.

Strain Alcohol and Fruits Using a Muslin Bag

Strain Alcohol and Fruits Using a Muslin Bag

Alcohol is a preservative; and when ripe produce is soaked in alcohol it can create a tasty beverage. Strain the fruit concoction with a muslin bag suspended with two bamboo sticks over a deep pan.

Photo by: DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - A Greener Christmas, 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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