At one time all the major London distillers made a great variety of fruit gins. Apart from sloe gin, which is still made commercially by Plymouth and Hawkers, and damson gin made by small craft distillers, production of most fruit gins has sadly died out. So there’s only one thing for it and that is to make your own.
This year we thought we would experiment with greengage gin in a recipe inspired by the French who call greengages by the much more exciting name of ‘reines claudes’ after a former French queen.
- 500 g greengages
- 250 g castor sugar
- 1 litre gin
- 1.5 litre Kilner type jar
- 2 sticks of cinnamon
- 8 cloves
First of course collect your greengages. If you can find them growing wild so much the better as you will feel smug, but actually shop bought are equally good.
Wash and dry the greengages, then prick them all over with a sharp knife. Pour them into the jar and add the sugar and gin. Don?t be tempted to use supermarket own label gin but go for a proper brand – Plymouth works well as do junipery gins like Beefeater and London No 1.
Close the jar, give it a good shake and then put it in a dark place to allow the fruit to do its magic. Some people leave it for six months or longer but around ten weeks is usually sufficient to allow the full flavour of the greengages to infuse the spirit. Don?t forget to shake the mixture occasionally to stop the sugar clumping. Once you reckon the gin is ready strain it into a large bottle and there you have it.