The header image above is the difference between last years damson (lighter colour) and Sloe (Darker colour) Gins.
I make quite a few of my own drink every year, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Home-made lemonade is far superior the the store bought stuff and Sloe gin is one of my all time favourites, especially at Christmas.
The advantages of making your own drinks is you know exactly what goes into it and you can control how strong the flavours are and the sugar content, if like me you don't have a sweet tooth.
I have to confess I find plums a little boring and think that most members of the plum family benefit from spending at least 6 months swimming in strong alcohol of some sort!
Below: Starting this years wild plum gin.
How do you make your own home-made drinks?
You can make home made drinks by :
- Fermentation - Using yeast and sugar to produce wine and beer and to carbonate drinks the natural way.
- Steeping - Adding fruit to ever-clear, vodka or gin to produce a fruit liqueur.
- Making concentrates that you later add to water or soda to, like elderflower or raspberry cordial.
Making drinks at home is mostly pretty easy once you have found a recipe you like and for the most part you don't need to buy lots of equipment either.
What is the easiest alcohol to make at home?
Wines and beers from bought kits are the easiest drinks to make but it is much more fun to experiment with your own produce.
Here's how you can do it:
Choose the Right Fruit: Some fruits are better suited for soaking in alcohol than others. Fruits with high water content and porous skins work well because they can absorb the flavours more effectively. Examples of fruits commonly used for soaking include berries (such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries), cherries, peaches, and citrus fruits.
Prepare the Fruit: Wash the fruit thoroughly to remove any dirt or pesticides. If you're using larger fruits like peaches or cherries, you may need to pit or slice them to speed up the infusion process. For berries, you can leave them whole or cut them in half to release their juices.
Select the Alcohol: The choice of alcohol depends on your preference and the flavour you want to achieve. Common choices include vodka, rum, brandy, and wine. Clear spirits like vodka tend to work well because they won't overpower the natural flavours of the fruit.
Combine the Fruit and Alcohol: Place the prepared fruit in a clean glass jar or container. Pour enough alcohol over the fruit to submerge it completely. Seal the container tightly.
Maceration Time: The length of time you should soak the fruit in alcohol varies depending on the fruit and your desired intensity of flavour. Generally, smaller fruits like berries may need a few days to a week, while larger fruits can take up to several weeks. Taste the fruit periodically to check the flavour.
Storage: Store the container in a cool, dark place during the maceration process. Shake the container gently every day to help distribute the flavours.
Sweetening (Optional): If you prefer a sweeter flavour, you can add sugar or a sweetener of your choice to the mixture. Simply dissolve the sugar in the alcohol before adding the fruit.
Serve and Enjoy: Once the fruit has reached the desired flavour, strain the alcohol-infused fruit from the liquid. You can enjoy the infused fruit as a tasty treat on its own or use it in various desserts and cocktails. The remaining flavoured alcohol can be used in cocktails or as a unique and flavourful addition to recipes.
It's important to note that alcohol-infused fruit is meant for adults due to the alcohol content. Enjoy it responsibly and avoid consuming large quantities. Also, if you plan to store the infused fruit for an extended period, refrigerate it to prevent spoilage.
I make the left over red fruit into a sparkling wine every year and hard cider is easy to make. I also make Perry, or pear cider, with my left over pears.