Blackberry cordial and gin-steeped sloes

I am a real country girl and when I’m not scribbling away with my writer’s hat on, I’m in the kitchen trying out recipes from my hedgerow finds.

Bowl of fruit and glass of blackberry cordialI have some rather sumptuous wild plum rum brewing at the moment and will be making another batch of spiced elderberry vinegar in the coming days.

If, like me, you picked a load of blackberries and they are now languishing in the freezer waiting for inspiration, here’s a quick and easy way of using them and having something delicious to warm the winter cockles.

I found this recipe in one of my favourite cookbooks called Country Harvest by Linda Burgess and Rosamond Richardson (Ebury Press 1990).

Here’s what you need:

  • 900g (2lb) blackberries, hulled
  • 450g (1lb) granulated sugar
  • ¼ whole nutmeg (or about 1tsp of ground nutmeg)
  • 25g (1oz) whole cloves (or ground equivalent)
  • 15g (½ oz) cinnamon stick (or ground equivalent)
  • 300ml (½ pint) brandy (although I have also used vodka or rum as alternatives)

And what to do:

  • Put blackberries into a food processor or blender with a little of the sugar.
  • Whizz to a puree and then sieve.
  • Put the sieved puree into a pan with the rest fo the sugar and spices.
  • Cover and simmer gently for 20 mins.
  • Allow to cool slightly and then add the brandy.
  • Bottle and set aside for Christmas (or for cough mixture in January!).
  • Strain before using.

Drink neat in tot sized glasses or add to sparkling wine, water or ginger beer as a cocktail or top up with hot water for a real winter warmer.

How easy is that!

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At this time of year some of my other favourites include home made Cranberry Vodka and Sloe Gin, and I found a rather good ruse for using the fruits once the alcohol is strained off. A friend of mine makes Sloe Gin Jelly and you could make cranberry sauce from vodka-soaked cranberries.

However I have found all alcohol soaked fruits make utterly DELICIOUS additions to chocolate brownies. It’s actually worth the effort of making the flavoured booze so you have the boozy fruits to make brownies with.


Tina Bettison

About Tina Bettison

I’m a writer, bestselling author, and broadcaster. I am currently writing a book about how to navigate your 40s, as I’m nearly at the end of mine and have plenty of stories to share!