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11 infused gins to make throughout the year

11 infused gins to make throughout the year

by Great British Chefs 06 June 2019

At any time of year there’s a seasonal fruit that’s perfect for steeping in gin. Take a look at our favourite infused gin recipes and give your drinks cabinet a fruity boost.

There’s certainly no shortage of flavoured gins in the supermarkets these days – everything from violets and geraniums to blood oranges and grapefruits make their way into the staunchly British spirit. But while these are at best overly sweet and at worst full of artificial flavourings, it’s far tastier and cheaper to make your own. And best of all – all it requires is a bit of sugar, some gin, your chosen fruit and time for everything to infuse together.

Almost any ingredient will leech flavour into gin if given long enough – but some fruits work better than others. The recipes below are our favourites, but do try experimenting at home; a vanilla pod, spices such as cinnamon or star anise and fresh herbs can add complexity to the final flavour that’s above and beyond anything you can buy. Beginning with forced rhubarb at the start of the year, working through the berries of summer and then finishing with wintery sloes, you can make incredible seasonal gins every month. Read on to see how easy it is and tap or click on the images to get taken to the full recipe for each.

Rhubarb gin

From late January right through to June, proud stalks of British rhubarb can be found in shops and vegetable plots. And while it’s great in crumbles, fools and cooked down into sauces for fish and game, one of the best things you can do with rhubarb is chop up a few stalks and throw them into some gin. If you’re using the bright pink forced variety found early on in the year it won’t just add flavour to the spirit; it’ll turn it a beautiful bright pink too.

Elderflower gin

The beginning of June sees elderflowers appear all over the UK. One of the easiest ingredients to forage – it’s abundant and easily recognisable (just give it a smell if you’re not sure!) – it sadly disappears after just a few weeks, making way for elderberries which crop up towards the end of summer. Preserve their flavour by picking a few sprigs and shake them up with some gin; the resulting flavour is fantastically floral.

Strawberry gin

English berry season begins with strawberries, which start appearing in June and last right through the summer. When you’re buying some to simply snack on or to make into a dessert, grab an extra punnet and use them to flavour gin, which will turn a beautiful red colour and makes a fantastic ingredient in everything from a G&T to a negroni.

Gooseberry gin

Gooseberries start appearing from late June, and while these hairy little things might be too sharp to eat raw they’re fantastic when cooked with a bit of sugar. The same can be said for gin – the spirit will take on the sweeter, fruitier flavours of the berry, while the mouth-puckering sourness is quelled by a little sugar.

Cucumber gin

Cucumber is a common garnish for G&Ts, but by peeling, deseeding and slicing it you can infuse its refreshing flavour right into the spirit. Once it’s ready, top up with tonic over ice and add a few mint leaves for the ultimate thirst-quencher during the hot summer months.

Blueberry gin

Blueberries are actually the second most popular berry in the UK (after strawberries), and every year we grow more and more of them. They’re a really versatile ingredient, tasting delicious either raw or cooked and they freeze particularly well. But of course, tumbling a few of them into a jar of gin, waiting a few days then straining it results in a purple-hued spirit that captures all their fruity flavour.

Blackberry gin

Towards the end of summer, hedgerows groan with the weight of blackberries – which is why you’ll see lots of people filling up carrier bags and Tupperware containers with them during their country walks. Pick as many as you can find (or head to the shops) then make them into compotes, sauces, crumbles, pies and – of course – blackberry gin!

Raspberry gin

Raspberry gin isn’t anywhere near as popular as other flavoured gins, but we have no idea why. Because they’re so juicy, the flavour carries very well into alcohol, resulting in a strong-flavoured sprit after just a few days. Give it a try!

Peach gin

Juicy, ripe peaches can be hard to find; apart from the few weeks when they’re at the height of their season, the fruit can be hard, flavourless and pretty disappointing. So when you do find a batch of perfect peaches, save half for eating in all their juice-dripping-down-your-chin glory, and the other half for flavouring gin, so you can extend the seasonal flavour just that little bit longer.

Elderberry gin

Missed your chance with elderflowers earlier on in the year? Not to worry – by the end of summer those flowers will have changed into dark purple elderberries. These winey, luscious little fruits shouldn’t be eaten raw, but when cooked or infused they release their wonderful flavour into all manner of things. Elderberry gin is a real treat – richer and darker in taste than the brighter berries of summer. An ideal tipple as autumn comes into full swing.

Sloe gin

Of all the fruits you can add to gin, sloe has to be the most popular. Appearing across the British countryside from October, they’re not much use raw – but steeped in gin for a few months releases their natural sweetness and beautiful flavour. If you happen to come across some during a countryside stroll, grab as many as you can, throw them into a jar of gin and forget about it for a couple of months. Come Christmas, you’ll have an incredible homemade tipple that brings some much-needed fruitiness to the colder months.

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