In this piece, Nathan Shepherd shows you how to get ready for winter by filling your booze cabinet.
The autumn season is one full of abundance. It’s the time that nature offers us a last opportunity to get ready for the lengthy winter days. It’s the moment to gather all kinds of delicious wild food. We have been blessed with a family of squirrels that have been living right outside our home throughout the summer. As colder days are approaching, they’ve started to take nuts from the feeders and then snatch them away for winter months by digging them up within the gardens.
I’ve been doing similar things over the past couple of weeks, only with bottles of liquor. I’ve made rosehip vodka and sloe-gin. At this time of the year, these delicious fruit is abundant. Sloes aren’t used for anything else but Gin, and rose hips aren’t often used in any way, which is unfortunate because both are a delicious treat if handled correctly.
When it comes to making these drinks, I am very much in the bung-it-all-together-and-don’t-measure-anything camp. But if that freaks you out a bit, then you can look up these recipes online and get some more detailed/professional information, but I doubt it will actually make much difference to the final product. My suggestion is to not stress over all the measurements and technical aspects and have a blast. Sip a glass of wine, throw on some music wea,r pajamas, and make the entire experience enjoyable. There’s not much that can be wrong. Let’s look at both of these recipes:
The first step in making the sloe-gin is to go and see the amount of money that you have in your bank account. It’s easy to think, “right I’m making six bottles of sloe gin this year.” however, you will get a surprise when it comes time to pay for the product. Since 2020 isn’t going to be remembered in the history books as a year that was awash in wealth (unless you’re involved in the bog roll or hand sanitizer market), the majority of us will produce one or two bottles in the coming year. I’ve already made a one-liter bottle. It should be enough in the event that Becky returns. When the amount of Gin you’re planning to purchase is decided, and you have chosen the right amount of sloes needed for the Gin. I’ve chosen to aim for half of the amount in the bottle, but this isn’t a guarantee. You can make use of greater or lesser, based on how many sloes you have in your yard and how quickly you become bored picking them up.
“Don’t worry too much about the weights and measurements, there is very little that can go wrong with either recipe.”
Next, grab the empty bottle of Gin, make a stab or poke in the sloe, then put it into the bottle. It is a long process; however, it does make the Gin taste better when you put in the effort. (This is the part when the glass of wine and the music make things somewhat more enjoyable.) After that, you’ll need to add sugar to the bottle. The amount will vary based on the sweetness you prefer for your Sloe Gin. I’m not a fan of it being that sweet, so I put about 80-100 grams into it. A funnel makes this process easy. If you don’t own one and you don’t have one, then you’ll need to pour it into the bottle using the help of a teaspoon. It’s likely to get boring. After you’ve finished, you can run the Gin till the glass is filled and then put the lid on. The only thing left is to put it in the pantry and shake it now and then.
In the ideal scenario, your Gin will mature for at least one year, but we are aware that it won’t last as long once we begin drinking it. I’m hoping to drink my bottle towards the close of December. After the bottle has been emptied, Don’t forget to make some jam using the remaining gin-soaked sloes. It can be a wonderful treat to eat breakfast. It can brighten even the most boring winter mornings.
It’s a bit more complicated to make, but it does have an advantage over Sloe Gin. It’s ready to drink in a matter of minutes. If immediate gratification is what you are looking for, and this is the case, then this may be the best choice for you than Sloe Gin. Begin by purchasing your vodka. I bought one bottle, which makes two bottles with the end product. After that, choose your rose hips. For two bottles, I picked around 3/4 of the colander. They’re quite easy to select and don’t take much time to determine the amount you need. Put the rose hips into an enormous pan with water and mix it in. It will require the same amount of water or a little more, for you will need the total amount of rose hip vodka you’re planning to make. To make two bottles, make sure you add 1.5-2 Liters of water to the rose hips. After that, simmer for up to three hours, with the lid placed on the pan. This will allow for the rose hips’ to degrade and for the flavor to mix in with the liquid. The amount of mixture will decrease when it is simmering.
When the simmering process is complete, you need to separate the rose hips from the water. This is the one part of this process that may require a little treatment. The rose hips contain a lot of tiny hairs, and they can irritate the skin (for those who were playful in their youth, you may remember putting the crushed rose hips on the sides of an unfortunate child at school, making him the itchiest person ever) as well as to the digestive system. Therefore, they must be removed with care before drinking the water. It’s easy to do: first, employ a sieve to remove the larger fragments of rose hip. Then, you can filter the rest of the water using either a layer made of hygiene cloth (such as Muslin) or a coffee filter. I tried the second and found it to be the best alternative in the end. It’s quite a slow process, so I’d suggest starting it and then taking a break to take a break while it is filtered. Once the process is complete, you can add sugar. The amount I chose was 500g. Add it to two wine bottles (screw the top) and then top it off with vodka. It’s ready to drink right away and works well with a chocolate pudding. It is best served chilled.
Both recipes are extremely easy to prepare, and the final result is very tasty. Do not worry about the measurements and weights. There isn’t much to be wrong with either of these recipes. The one thing to be mindful of is removing hairs from rose hips. Both recipes can be used to make other edible berries that are growing locally. Blackberry vodka, anyone?