It's simple to make and blend your very own gin liqueur. Proof? Why, this perfect homemade sloe gin, for starters. Read on for more tips on perfecting your own sloe gin and other infused tipples…plus recipes from our talented Distiller, Ollie Kitson.
We’re well into sloe gin season, and now is certainly the time of year to go on a foraging adventure…and then make a delicious, infused gin liqueur with the fruits of your labour. But beyond the hedgerow fruits, there’s almost no limit to the flavours you can infuse into your gin (don’t believe us? Just try our ham and mustard gin…).
But for those who have yet to experiment with crafting their own gin liqueur, it might be best to begin with fresh fruits, herbs, chocolate, and other approachable flavours. We always recommend working with duos or trios of flavours for more interesting and complex blends – strawberry works gorgeously alongside basil, for instance, while chocolate and orange are born partners. As a general rule, sweet and tart or astringent flavours balance each other out very well.
When crafting your gin liqueur, the most important directive of all is to taste as you go: depending on the individual ingredients that you’re using, everything will infuse a little bit differently, so sampling throughout the process ensures you’re happy with the final flavour.
Be wary of using too much sugar as well, Ollie warns – in sloe gin and beyond. While many instinctively add sugar straight from the get-go, it’s best to add it only at the end: once you’ve sampled the final product, you’ll know best how much sweetening is needed. If you’re using very sweet fruits, you may not need to add sugar at all; if you do want to increase the sweetness, a simple 1:1 sugar syrup blends seamlessly.
Most of all, though, we counsel you to be creative. Take inspiration from classic recipes and you simply can’t go wrong. Cheers!
Ready to try your hand at your own gin liqueur? Find three delectable recipes straight from our beloved Distiller, Ollie to kick-start your inspiration.
Strawberry and Basil Liqueur
One small punnet of strawberries (wild-picked, preferably)
5-7 basil leaves
70 cl gin
200 ml sugar syrup, approximately
Separate the gin into halves. Macerate the strawberries in one half of the gin for a week. Steep the basil in the other half of the gin for one afternoon. After each half has fully steeped, strain and blend together, and add the sugar syrup to taste.
2 large handfuls of freshly picked elderflowers
70 cl gin
300-400 ml sugar syrup
Steep the elderflowers in the gin for a maximum of two hours (try to use elderflowers picked in the same day, as the flavour will be more potent). Strain and blend in sugar syrup to taste.
Chocolate Orange Liqueur
20g cacao nibs
70 cl gin
400 ml sugar syrup
Add cacao nibs to gin and steep for one week. On the final night, add zest of one orange (be careful to avoid the pith, as that will make your gin liqueur very bitter). Strain the next day and add 400 ml sugar syrup to taste.