Damson Vodka or Gin

Preparing the damsons
Preparing the damsons

This is a great way to use up a glut of damsons, it transforms the gin or vodka into a heavenly tipple, capturing the essence of the damson.  Be warned though it is very easy to drink and very alcoholic!

For every 1 pint (570ml) damsons use 6oz (175g) sugar
gin or vodka

You will need a large screw top jar, we use the old fashioned sweet jars but you could use a large kilner jar too.

Prick the damsons with a fork or skewer and place in the jar.  It’s best to fill the jar with damsons for maximum flavour. You will need to measure them as they go in because for every pint (570ml)of damsons that you use you need to add 60z (175g) of sugar.  Fill the jar with either gin or vodka. You will need to shake the damsons gently to help the liquid seep to the bottom. Tightly fit the lid.  You now need to shake the jar daily until all of the sugar has dissolved (this can take two weeks of daily shaking). Put the jar in a dark place for six months and then decant into bottles.

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14 thoughts on “Damson Vodka or Gin”

  1. Hi Nicola,
    I have never tried to make it with frozen damsons, so please let me know how you get on. If it works OK then it’s a good tip as sometimes the damsons are ready to pick but I don’t have the time to do the vodka. If I could freeze them and then do the vodka at a more relaxed time that would be fantastic. Keep me posted.

    1. Hi Adrienne,
      I am not sure how Nicola got on with the frozen damsons as she didn’t report back. I am not sure they would work though as you have to pierce the damsons so that they release their juices into the gin/vodka. Are you going to give it a try? I have always made my vodka/ gin with fresh so can’t offer any advice on whether frozen damsons would work. Sorry to be of little help. Kath

  2. Yes it works as it does with sloes. Being frozen they burst when the gin is poured over and it help the berries release their flavour. Enjoy.

  3. By the way although gin is the popular alcohol for sloes try it with whisky. It has a slight medicinal flavour but delicious.

  4. I always use frozen damsons. I defrost them before I bottle them though; this makes them split and release their juice. My recipe is 600g damsons, 200g ordinary granulated sugar to a litre of gin or vodka – that’s a bit less sugar than most recipes but for me that results in a beautifully sharp, sour yet sweet drink. I strain through a pair of (clean!) nylon tights before bottling, and use the fruit to make jam. Nothing gets wasted! Three months is enough so it’s usually ready by Christmas.

  5. I made damson vodka with frozen damsons this year and I didn’t have time to defrost them. They were fine. The freezing process helps to break the skins so you don’t have to prick them all over. The damsons were in the vodka for three months and it came out just fine – the taste is amazing, it’s a very cool present for very little effort.

  6. Could you please confirm the weight of damsons and the amount of vodka? I don’t understand ‘for every 1pint of damsons use 6oz of sugar gin or vodka’. It’s probably me being dense so apologies

    1. Hello, it’s an old fashioned recipe using traditional methods so I can see why it is confusing. You have to place the damsons into a pint jug as you prick them and then tip them into whatever jar you are using. That way you know how many pints of damsons you are using. You then need to add the sugar according to that. So if you used 2 pints of damsons you would need 12oz of sugar. Then once the damsons and sugar are in the jar you fill in the gaps with the alcohol. It all depends on how big your jar is. I use an old fashioned sweet jar that you see on the shelves of sweet shops and that normally takes about one and half bottles of vodka, once the damsons and sugar are in. I hope this helps explain things. Kath

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