Ah nuts. You’ve done it again!
Year after year you promise yourself that ‘this is the year I’m going to make my own Sloe Gin’.
As the winter months roll in, the air getting colder and the nights getting darker, you find yourself berating the shops for displaying their decor slightly too early, and chastise the Christmas adverts for ‘not being as good as last years’ (despite making that very same claim 12 months ago…), whilst all the while eagerly awaiting the sight of ‘that’ Coco Cola ad, so you can be the first one to post on social media that ‘Christmas is officially here!’. And throughout all of this tinsel tinged passive aggressiveness…you’ve forgotten to pick your sloes!
‘Oh drat!’, you exclaim. ‘Now my sloe gin will never be ready in time for jolly old Saint Nick!’.
Well fear not my festive chum. Whilst you may have been a little ‘sloe’ off the mark (see what I did there?!…) all is not lost! You see, this year I’ve opted to go for something a little bit different to bring some yuletide cheer to proceedings. And whilst you may roll your eyes at a Christmas post being made in mid-November, this little concoction is going to need a minimum of 6 weeks before it’s ready to whack under the Christmas tree…I give you a ‘The Gin Shelf’ limited edition infusion of cranberry, orange & cinnamon, which I’ve aptly named ‘Gin-gle Bells’.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Ok, so I’m going to let you in on a secret. This is super easy to make, and if you get a wriggle on then you’ll have this ready in time for Christmas morning! (…or afternoon, you know…up to you!).
You’re going to need to grab yourself:
. 70cl of decent gin (Oliver Cromwell in my example)
. 400g of frozen cranberries
Top Tip: Frozen cranberries will avoid you having to individually prick each berry if you opt for the fresh fruit alternative!
. 400g caster sugar
. The peel of 1 and a half oranges
. 2 cinnamon sticks
. A large storage jug (be warned that this will make more than 70cl of gin when you account for the fruit juice!)
1. Chuck your sugar in to your storage jar and pour in the gin. Slosh it about for a bit until your sugar has dissolved.
2. Add the cranberries & orange peel and give the whole thing a bit of a mix.
3. Throw in your cinnamon sticks, close the lid and give it a shake (pretend this ‘bad boy’ is on the naughty list and give it a bit of umph!)
4. Stick your gin infusion in to a dark place, out of direct sun light, returning to give it a good shake once a week to keep those juices flowing and flavours infusing!
5. I’d recommend leaving the gin to infuse for 6 weeks, though you can give it slightly more or less time depending on the flavour profile you’re after.
After 6 weeks of patiently waiting, you’re going to want to strain your gin through a muslin cloth, to remove the berries, peels and any residue. And then you’re done – your very own Christmas gin is ready to be bottled up and enjoyed!
This really is Christmas in a glass, and the perfect Crimbo sipper. It can easily be enjoyed neat over ice or as a festive gin & tonic (best served with a premium light tonic water). If you want something a little edgier, try it alongside a ginger ale or ginger beer to add a little warming spice to the equation to complement those cinnamon flavours.
And if you’re feeling extra generous, why not decant some of your gin in to smaller batches to make for a perfect home made gift or ‘stocking filler’ for friends and family?!
So with my gin now safely stored away to infuse for the next few weeks, I’m heading back to the couch to lambaste the television for filling my living room with premature Christmas cheer, all the while secretly hoping to hear the ‘Holidays are coming…’ jingle and catch a glimpse of the Kirsty Allsopp Christmas viewing schedule…
Happy ginning folks!
Add me to your Christmas Card list!
Thinking of giving my ‘Gin-gle Bells’ creation a go?! Great! I’d love to see your progress pictures and end products! Hit me up across social media (@theginshelf) and stop by to say ‘hi!’.