making hedgerow gin

hedgerow gin recipe

Folklore has it that blackberries shouldn’t be picked after Old Michaelmas Day on 10th October because that’s the day that the Devil spits on the blackberries. Apparently, when the Devil fell from Heaven on Michaelmas Day he landed in a thorny bramble thicket and this is his revenge. Whether you believe the story or not, blackberries are certainly coming to the end of their season and now that the weather has turned a bit damper the berries will rot even quicker.

We have just about tired of eating blackberries; after weeks of alternating autumn fruiting raspberries and blackberries for pudding each day, the family were beginning to mutiny so making Hedgerow Gin seems a good way to use the last of the blackberries with the hawthorn berries, rose hips and sloes that are now in the hedgerows.

Hedgerow Gin is a wonderfully autumnal drink and is easy to make. Simply add the fruit to a wide necked jar with the sugar and spices, pour in the gin, put the lid on and give it a good shake. Shake the jar once a day for a week and gradually you’ll see the clear gin turn a reddish purple colour. After a week, hide the bottle in a dark cupboard and leave it there for a couple of months at least. If you’re desperate to drink it for Christmas then strain and bottle it, but it will be better if you let it sit a bit longer and save it for next autumn. If you don’t like gin, then use vodka or sherry. Don’t throw away the strained fruit, but tip it into a saucepan with some water and jam sugar to make a jar of Hedgerow Jelly.

We drink Hedgerow Gin (along with Sloe Gin and Blackberry Gin) by the thimbleful on cold evenings and I pour a spoonful into the top of bottles of Elderberry or Blackberry syrups and cordials in the hope that they improve the keeping qualities, though I may be deluding myself.

Now that the evenings are drawing in and the sunny September days have been replaced by a decidedly cooler October it may just be time to dig out last year’s bottle of Hedgerow Gin and have a little taster.

27 thoughts on “making hedgerow gin

  1. Ginger says:

    I absolutely adored your picture! And I can picture the finished product … If I had only known before, I wouldn’t risk picking berries this weekend 😉

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  2. Benjamin says:

    I love that illustration! We make something similar with bourbon (because this is Kentucky) when the cherries ripen in the summer…And it’s ready to enjoy just in time for the Christmas holidays! Cheers!

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      Damson Vodka and Damson Gin are delicious. Sadly we don’t have enough damsons to make it, though we planted another tree a few years ago that’s looking promising. I like the fact that you put a reasonably colourless bottle into the cupboard and a few months later pull out a deep coloured luscious drink.

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  3. Mrs Thomasina Tittlemouse says:

    Beautiful picture -is it a watercolour? And what a wonderful idea for the end of the blackberry season! I always want to know what one could use haws in too – they are such a lovely colour but on their own they don’t taste of much although I think they’re supposed to be quite good for you. I don’t know whether I could leave this to mature for a whole year without sampling! E x

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      It’s a jelly print. I once made hawthorn chutney but it was an incredible faff removing the stones – the stone to flesh ratio is not good – and I’ve never tried it since. At least with this drink the haws just get thrown in. Of course, the trick is to make two bottles the first year so you can sip from one and keep the other to mature and then keep making it every year 🙂

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  4. sally says:

    I love the word autumnal and the focus that it brings on all things boozy. I’m thinking cider must be next up on the menu?

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      We’re a bit short of cooking apples this year so not sure if we’ll make cider (also we have quite a lot left over from last year) so may just press apple juice instead.

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  5. Annie says:

    You have prompted me to reach for the last of last year’s blackberry vodka.

    What do you find the haws add Anne, they’re not something I’d have thought to include.

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    • Anne Wheaton says:

      To be honest I’m not sure what the haws add. The first time I made Hedgerow Gin, I’d picked too much fruit for the Hedgerow Jam I was making and thought it would make good gin. Apart from anything else, the haws look good in the mix and are easy to pick!

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  6. theclevercarrot says:

    I am so intrigued by your jelly paining- did I miss a post on how to do this or something? Do tell. Or else I must commission you to illustrate the recipes on my blog 🙂 Cheers to Hedgerow Gin! I think I might need glass… X

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