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Gilbert’s blackberry whisky recipe

blackberries growing on the bush

Blackberries on the bush in various stages of ripeness

If it wasn’t for the fact that he was wearing his battered panama, Jalopy and I would have not noticed Gilbert. He was wearing some sort of camouflage fatigues and carrying a bucket. Curious, we drew to a halt beside him and he swept off his hat with a magnificent bow.

“I suppose you want to know what I am foraging for.” He tipped the bucket towards Jalopy’s open window. It was full of large, succulent blackberries.
Actually, I was far more curious about the fatigues.
“Ah!” He lowered his voice to a whisper, although there was nobody around. “A birthday present from Marjorie. The man from the woods look.”
“But your panama?”
“There is a matching baseball cap. I thought it looked a bit too much like ‘an outfit’.”

I threw some empty paint pots off the front seat and offered him a lift home. He clambered in and sat cradling his bucket. He explained that he was going to make blackberry whisky.

We have tried making blackberry gin and vodka but found that our process (seeping the fruit for a year) seemed to enhance the underlying woodiness of the fruit and it wasn’t a success. Gilbert explained that if you use blackberries for a fruit liqueur the fruit must be removed after three months and then the grog has to be matured for for a year. When we arrived at Gilbert’s house I sampled the 2006 batch. It was delicious.

I think I might have another go at making blackberry vodka and as D loves whisky, I am going to try that too. Meanwhile here is G’s recipe. As we haven’t tried it there is no rubber stamp but I trust Gilbert. He just knows.

Gilbert’s blackberry whisky recipe
Recipe Type: Liqueur
Author: Fiona Nevile
  • 2 kilos of blackberries, gathered on a sunny day
  • 1 x 75ml bottle of whisky – Gilbert says don’t go too cheap here but no need to buy the best
  • 250g of good white cane sugar
  1. In a Le parfait jar/demi john, that is large enough to contain all the ingredients, combine the blackberries, sugar and whisky.
  2. Shake each day until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Then place the jar in a dark place for 3 months.
  4. Strain off the liqueur and store in a cool place for at least a year.

Tips and Tricks

You are free to forage on the hedgerows along the roads. There should be plenty for everyone.

There is no need to trespass to find fruit. If you see bounty it is worth speaking with the owner of the land and negotiating a swap such as a bottle of grog in return for an afternoon’s foraging.

I am eying my neighbours apple trees at the moment as we need extra apples to start our cider making venture this year. Most people just let their fruit drop and rot. They will jump at the chance of a bit of bounty in return for something that they don’t value at all.


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  1. Hi I’ve made Blackberry Whisky, Plumb Vodka and Sloe Gin. It’s time to remove the fruiet and seems a real shame to throw the fruiet away, has anyone got any suggestions what to do with it, I do make jam and thought about boozy jam? or even a boozy fruuiet cake, not to sure of the flavour would be to strong! Thanks

  2. jaisalmere

    i made blackberry rum and blackberry whiskey this year and blackberry suprise.
    its more or less the same as sloe gin,i.e spirit,fruit and sugar.
    i tend to put the blackberrys in a food processer with the sugar then mix 30% pulp to 70% spirit.
    blackberry suprise is 30%pulp to 70% of all the ends of various spirits,i did,however draw the line at baileys.
    i am trying mango vodka too

  3. Hi, there,

    Just thought I’d add our family take on this. A few years ago, I bought my Hubby a bottle of Tobermory, but he didn’t really like the island flavour. So we tried it out as a blackberry liqueur – WOW! The seaweedy tang just goes with that quirky overtaste of ripe brambles.

    Happy harvest, folks!

  4. Dawntreader

    Just made first batch of blackberry whisky, but trying it all in large plastic containers. Does anyone have any horror stories over using these?Have it all in 5litre screw-topped mineral water containers.

  5. Hi,
    Was just reading your posts about b whisky….
    I have attempted it before but think I must havr left the berries in too long, so will have anpoother go as per your guidelines.
    My recipe, however suggested some glycerine to make it smoother….any comments????

  6. Newburyfruits

    Hi GeeBee, I live 12 miles from Bath and have just gathered my elderberries to make my first wine with them. I’ve used a simple recipe in an old book (first steps in winemaking by CJJ Berry) given to me by my father many years ago. Recipe is as follows:
    3lb ripe elderberries
    3 1/2lb sugar
    1 gallon boiling water
    yeast and nutrient

    Strip berries from stalks, crush, pour on boiling water in bucket with lid. Let it cool to 21 deg C then add yeast. Leave 3 days stirring daily then strain through muslin onto sugar. Put into demi john (cover hole with cotton wool until vigorous fermenting has finished then replace with airlock. Bottle after all fermentation finsihed and leave 6 months before drinking.

    No idea what it is like since this is my first attempt!

    Good luck 🙂

  7. Does anyone have an easy (as in – suitable for a complete novice) recipe for elderberry wine? The berries are ripenng and I’m raring to go but all of the recipes I’ve found so far seem really complicated.

    Cheers (at least, I hope so!)

  8. I made Gilbert’s Bramble whiskey back in September and managed to bide my time until New Year before giving it a taste.

    It was just delicious. The bramble gin made at the same time was also very good, but all my guinea pigs were in agreement that the bramble whiskey was a clear winner.

  9. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Roy

    Yes the ingredients are correct. You could try using less blackberries (I do for blackberry vodka – filling half the bottle). I’d be interested to hear how you get on.

  10. Could someone confirm the amounts in the recipe for me? I’m new to this business, but that seems like an awful lot of blackberries and very little whiskey. Would 75cl of whiskey even cover 2kg of blackberries?

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