Gin has forever been a long British tradition - being first developed in London. Known for its rich and fruity flavors, damson gin is a liqueur, usually homemade, made from damson plums macerated in a sugar and gin syrup for eight weeks or more. The flavor matures and improves over time. If you like drinking sloe gin, you should then definitely try its lesser-known cousin!
250g golden caster sugar
1 litre bottle of gin
Rinse and pick over the damsons to remove any leaves and stalks, then pat dry, tip into a freezer bag and freeze overnight. The next day, bash the bag of damsons a couple of times with a rolling pin and then tip the lot into a 2-litre Kilner jar, or divide between 2 smaller jars.
Pour in the sugar and gin, and put the lid on. Shake well. Each day for a week, give the jar a good shake until all the sugar has dissolved, then put it in a cool, dark place and leave for 2-3 months.
Line a plastic sieve with a square of muslin (or use a coffee filter in a cone for a really refined gin) and strain the damson gin through it. Decant into clean, dry bottles, seal and label. The gin is now ready to drink, but will improve and mature over time – it will keep for over a year, if you can wait that long.
This recipe can also be used to make damson vodka by simply substituting the gin with vodka, giving it a slightly ‘cleaner’ flavour.