sloe and damson drinks
having collected all those damsons, plus a smaller amount of sloes, i had a blitz in the kitchen to make sure it was all put to good use. the ice cream you already know about. i also made a batch of damson and bay jam (based on this plum version).
however, the bulk of the fruit has been smothered with booze and i’m now waiting for it to mature – there is sloe gin, damson and orange gin (pictured) and damson vodka.
at the moment david and i have a daily ritual of shaking the jars to encourage the final amounts of sugar to dissolve and the fruit to give up all its flavour. it’ll be a couple of months before we can start drinking any of it but given the fruit is available now, if you want to make your own batch you’d better get a move on.
recipes for each are below. to avoid having to prick each individual fruit, just put it in the freezer overnight as this will encourage the skins to split and the flavours to emerge. you’ll need to sterilise some jars/bottles before you get started and then it’s a simple matter of filling the jars according to the quantities below, storing them in a dark place but shaking them daily for a week and then weekly for 2-3 months. you can then strain out the fruit (the sloes will need to be discarded (update: apparently not - see the comments section) but the damsons can be cooked with or added to sherry, to make damson sherry) and rebottle your drinks.
sloe gin:450g sloes, 225g caster sugar and 1 litre of gin
damson and orange gin: 500g damsons, 4 strips of orange peel, 125g caster sugar and 1 litre of gin
damson vodka: 500g damsons, 125g caster sugar and 1 litre of vodka