Hedgerow Tipples

Just in case you stumbled on our site looking for a hedgerow recipe here’s two of our favourites!

Blackberry Liqueur Recipe

1.5 kg ripe blackberries
2 litres of red wine (Not the absolutely cheapest plonk!)
Sugar

Wash the blackberries, place in an earthenware pot or pyrex bowl and crush with a wooden spoon. Add the red wine and leave for 48 hours.

Filter, weigh the juice and add the same weight of sugar. Pour into an enamel or stainless steel saucepan (or a Le Creuset pot) and heat to just boiling. Let it boil gently for 5 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time. Leave to cool to about 40°C, filter and bottle.

If filtered well, bottled into sterilised bottles and well corked, this should keep indefinitely (well it could but it doesn’t last long in our house!) For a filter I use a muslin or a calico bag suspended from the legs of an upturned stool, making sure the bowl can be lifted out from between the stool legs when full! Don’t be tempted to hurry up the filtering process or it will go cloudy – just be patient & let gravity do its job.

Enjoy your hedgerow tipple!

Sloe Gin Recipe

An absolute must for the cold winter months and great for wet Spring evenings too!

Sloes are usually ripe for picking in late September/October but in some areas they are ripening earlier. They are the small plum-like fruit of the blackthorn bush and have a distinctive bluish bloom. Though very bitter if eaten they give the gin a wonderful warm fruity flavour and a glorious crimson colour.

Ingredients

1lb sloes          8 oz caster sugar      1 litre dry gin

The sloes need to be washed and pricked all over (traditionally with a silver fork!)  then dropped into the bottom of a screw top bottle (we always use the gin bottles we bought). Dissolve the sugar in the gin then pour back into the bottle on top of the sloes. Allow some space at the top of the bottle. You will obviously have some liquid left over so reserve the same ratio of sloes and  make up a smaller bottle or airtight jar with the remainder. (You should end up with 1.25 litres)

The bottles need to be stored in a dark place for about 2 to 3 months and given a shake to release the fruit flavour every few days or just once a week later on. So should be ready just in time for the Christmas festivities! Enjoy! We’ve never bothered to strain it because the fruit is preserved in the alcohol and looks great kept in the bottle. It can get a little ‘sedimenty’ towards the bottom but the flavour just keeps on improving!

There is a variation of this recipe which is unique to Alnwick, Northumberland that uses brown sugar, cloves and bitter almonds. Well worth a try!

Note: If you find the results too sweet just use less sugar – if you like really sweet fruit liquers then you may want to use up to 300g (11oz) per litre bottle.The sugar content makes a real difference so have fun experimenting with different strengths.I grew up on the stuff and rarely taste a sloe gin I don’t like!  Good luck!

Anna xxAnna pic V&A

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