What other fruit do you bottle? Exchange recipe ideas here (No sloes or damsons here please)
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I have started (separate) batches from these fruits following a recipe from a Tasmanian web-site. Both fruits have the same astrigency as sloes (though less so) and the method is the same as for sloe gin, except that you must quarter and trim the fruit to remove seeds (and sometimes grubs!). As I do with sloe gin, I have used as high a proportion of fruit as possible (ie the gin simply fills the spaces between the fruit), and have added sugar to enable osmosis to work effectively. Because the crab-apples float it is important to fill the jar to the lid with fruit and gin or they turn brown if exposed to air. (They will also turn brown as you are cutting them, but go white again once in the gin.) After only one night the crab-apple gin is already a light pink and the pear a light green, and both taste good and fruity, though I expect that the end result will be a lighter drink than sloe gin.
I have not been on the site for seven years, but I though I should follow up my post of 2007. The crab-apple and the crab-pear gins were both disgusting (astringent without any redeeming flavour). Elderberry gin was equally nasty, but with a very strong and unpleasant flavour. I threw them all away, in total wasting a litre of gin. The lesson seems to be: stick to sloes.
Interesting to read that about Elderberry ... mine smelled pretty weird too but I might give it time and see whether it gains a better flavour. It was just a bit musty to me. I tried crab-apple in vodka and it isn't my favourite liqueur but I wouldn't say it was bad but I guess it all depends on the flavours in the fruit and crab-apples can be very variable