Gin is all the rage these days – here’s a new take with a hedgerow flavour inspired by the Bristol-based ‘the other Andy Hamilton’ who is an afficionado of hedgerow drinks . . .
250 ml Vodka
30 Juniper berries
20 Coriander seeds
2 Cardomon pods
4 – 6 Slices of citrus zest (lemon, lime and orange)
1” Cinnamon stick
2 – 3 sprigs of fresh lemon balm
I sprig rosemary
Petals from three or four dandelions, elderflowers, roses etc.
One can make this simply by soaking the ingredients in the vodka for several days, however much better results are obtained by using a ‘mousse syphon’. This is a relatively cheap (£20) version of the soda siphons beloved by our grandparents, but fuelled by nitrous oxide (laughing gas) canisters instead of CO2 – you can get everything easily on Amazon and ebay.
Ideally strain the vodka several times through a water filter (particularly if it’s cheap spirit). If you don’t have one of these jugs, then you can use activated charcoal and an old fashioned coffee filter with papers. In the end, neither is essential, however. Put the all ingredients in the mousser and pressurise with a canister. Leave for a few minutes, throw away the gas canister and insert a new one – leave for another five minutes, then carefully depressurise, strain through a sieve or filter . . . and Hey Presto! You have a designer gin!
There is no precise recipe for a foraged gin. The juniper berries are essential, the citrus peel and coriander are strongly recommended, but beyond that it’s up to taste and seasonality. I’d recommend inviting a few friends for a blending party . . . Hic!