Have you ever tasted homemade gooseberry vodka? It’s superb and immensely gluggable. Served in shot glasses that have been sitting expectantly for an hour or so in the freezer, it is the queen of the taste of summer. Sweet yet sharp. Like raspberry vodka it incapsulates sunshine and the freshest waft of a perfect bright morning in a small glass.
The kick from this drink is not quite so innocent. I have had a hardened Soho (London) producer helped to back seat of his car to be driven home, unable to face breakfast the next morning. My fault of course – I’d given him the keys to the city (our cellar) before I sloped off to bed. Danny wasn’t around back then. He can’t eat gooseberries – too much acid. But he adores gooseberry vodka – probably would have protected the bottle with a tribal roar if he’d been around back then.
If you’d like a real treat, forget the shot glasses and pour a little gooseberry vodka into the bottom of a long glass. Top up with carbonated water, lots of ice and a sprig or two of fresh mint. A real thirst quencher at the end of a long hot day A good buzz too.
If you blend or press the vodka soaked fruit through a fine sieve you will make a superb sauce for pouring over ice cream or the base for a champagne cocktail with a giant tiger’s kick, to surprise very special friends in the midst of winter. Beware of the latter – the combination is pretty lethal so go slow on the vodka soaked fruit – just a teaspoon in each glass max unless you want to open an impromptu B&B.
I have tasted many of the commercial infused fruit vodkas on the market today and I much prefer our own, hands down. Our recipes have added sugar, this makes them into liqueurs according to Wikipedia. Of course the sugar in the fruit and the added sugar turn to achohol in time. So be careful if you have manged to save a vintage bottle.
Gooseberry vodka is a great addition to any home cellar. It is up in the giddy heights with raspberry vodka. Two great liqueuers that can easily be made at home and make great gifts, if you can bear to part with them.
|Gooseberry vodka recipe
- 500g of gooseberries
- 1 litre of medium quality vodka
- 375g of white granulated sugar for ordinary green gooseberries (less for red desert goose berries – 100g and top up later if the mix is too tart)
- Wash gooseberries, top and tail and discard any bruised fruit. Cut the gooseberries in half and place in either a large Kilner/Le Parfait jar or divide the gooseberriess between 2 (70 cl) saved gin bottles. I use a 1.5 litre gin bottle.
- Using a funnel, add the sugar (divide the amounts if using several bottles) and top up with vodka to approx. 3cm below the rim.
- Shake every day until the sugar is dissolved and then store in a cool, dark place until you can resist it no longer (leave for at least four months, we usually let steep for 6 months).
- Drain the liqueur through muslin after six months and freeze the discarded fruit to pep up dishes at a later date. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Bottle the liqueur and store in a dark, dry place.
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