Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Potent Hedgerows

This potent tale starts back in October on a regular dog walk in the meadows around Usk, when we came across a fantastic crop of late blackberries, sloes and wild damsons growing in the hedgerows.

We picked 4lb of blackberries in just 30 mins and went back the following day armed with more bags to gather sloes and damsons, with the intention of turning them into some potent liqueurs ready for Christmas - Blackberry Brandy and Vodka and Sloe and Wild Damson Gin. 

If you have never tried this before then make sure it is one of your New Year resolutions to make some for Christmas 2014, it tastes divine and has a real kick to it!

How to do it 

Blackberry Brandy/Vodka and Sloe/ Damson Gin

Pick your fruit and wash it. Have ready some large clean, dry, glass jars or bottles with a screw top and a wide enough neck to drop the fruit into. Add the fruit to the jars or bottles and cover with granulated sugar. The blackberries can go straight in, but sloes and damsons should be individually pricked with a fork first. 
You can use a mix of sloes and damsons if you  don't have enough of one or the other.

Add the liquor of your choice,  the cheapest gin, whiskey, brandy or vodka you can find, to the top of the jar or bottle and screw the lid on tightly. Shake well before placing in a cool, dark cupboard for at least 8 weeks. You should shake each of the bottles or jars at regular intervals to ensure all the sugar is dissolved.

Decant your liqueurs into small bottles (little, used, wine bottles as in the pic are ideal) adding in some of the fruit to each bottle as a decoration. 

The alcohol steeped blackberries are great stewed with a little sugar and eaten with ice cream.

If you make enough, these hedgerow liqueurs make great Christmas gifts, but make sure you keep some back for yourself. I can guarantee once you've tasted it you won't keep it long!

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