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Mixed soft fruit vodka liqueur recipe. Harlequin grog.

Photo: Soft fruit destined for the grog bottle

Photo: Soft fruit destined for the grog bottle

Tiny hands clapped with glee when we surveyed our potential black, red and white currant harvest back in the spring. The gooseberries looked promising too.
“We can make loads of schnapps and finally our own red currant jelly. This year I’ll make some gooseberry sauce for Christmas and some gooseberry vodka with the dessert gooseberries.”
“The gooseberry vodka didn’t last long. When you made it last year.”
“I only had a couple of shot glasses. This year I’m going to hide it away.”

The sawfly must have been listening.
“We’ll scotch that selfish plan. And leave just enough fruit to make one bottle of grog. Let’s start chomping now!”

This afternoon I harvested our currants. Just a couple of handfuls. I also picked some of the ripe dessert gooseberries. Strangely the sawfly ate all the regular green gooseberries but left the special dessert ones these ripen to a deep red and can be eaten raw. Sharp and sweet, these are so well worth growing. I’ll be able to make a sweet gooseberry sauce for Christmas. A gift from generous spirited sawfly, perhaps?

I have no idea how this concoction will turn out but here is my recipe anyway and I let you know how it tastes in six months time.

Meanwhile we have been picking raspberries like mad. We have early, mid season and autumn raspberries so we can savour them from June to November. The flavour improves as the year unfolds. The early ones are perfect for making raspberry gin and raspberry vodka – the king and queen of homemade liqueurs (far, far better than sloe gin). This summer I doubled the raspberries in each bottle and added the same amount of sugar. The magical grog can be diluted with more spirits if the fruit flavour is too strong. Check back here in six months for a review.

Last week John Cushnie answered a question on Gardener’s Question Time – BBC Radio 4. The question was what to grow in a recession to salve the credit crunch effect. He suggested growing a vine that fruits very early, making wine from the grapes and gently glugging.  With this liqueur we are planning to follow the same route. For a couple of evenings at least.

Mixed soft fruit liqueur recipe. Harlequin grog.


100g of mixed soft summer fruit and a leaf from one of the currant bushes (we used white, red and black currants and made up the weight with a few dessert gooseberries)
650 ml of medium priced vodka. Don’t go for the cheapest unless you want to spend the next day in bed this is so good that you will not be able to stop at one glass.
100g of white granulated sugar. This sugar turns to alcohol.


  1. Wash and pick over the fruit discarding any iffy fruit. Top and tail the fruit and place in the bottle (I save vodka bottles for this purpose. No need to sterilise them if you keep the lids on and store them somewhere dry and cool.)

Using a funnel pour in the sugar and vodka to the level of an inch under the top of the bottle.

Leave on the kitchen side for a few days, shaking the bottle morning and evening to dissolve the sugar. Then store in a cool dark place to mature.

After six months drain off the liquor – the grog should be delicious by now. But continue to store in a dark, cool dry place. The fruit can be liquidised and frozen to serve with budget champagne in the future as a terrifyingly intoxicating cocktail. Meanwhile serve this grog at the end of a meal with plenty of chilled water.

Expect the bottle to be drained however many guests are around the table. Soft fruit liqueurs are incredibly moreish. Beware.

  Leave a reply


  1. paul mercer

    Just filtered my harlequin vodka its absolute divine it will not get shared

  2. Dave Stares

    Fantastic recipes for Harlequin Grog and Raspberry Vodka, they are superb, I have several bottles/ demijohns on the go, and it™s very hard to resist a sip!
    I have made Sloe Gin before, but never again these liquors are far superior and I am now a convert! I have given the recipes to several friends who are also now hooked on the home made ˜hooch™! A friend has also made Sloe Vodka which uses the same recipe as the Raspberry, it is fantastic!
    Thank you for making my summers more enjoyable, picking fruit to make into liquid heaven and introducing my friends to the finer things in life at BBQ™s!

  3. Hi,
    Does anyone know if you can mix brambles and sloes to make either a vodka or gin drink.

    We’ve got sloe gin and Bramble whisky on the go and we’ve got about half a pound of each left so we fancied trying to mix them with either vodka or gin, but wondered if anyone had tried it before and had comments?



  4. Hi Amanda

    A late reply to your question on caramel vodka but I made this last Christmas.

    Get 2 bags of Werthers Caramel Toffees, freze themand then smash them up with a rolling pin. Get a bottle of vodka and empty out enough to pour the broken shards of the toffees into the bottle and top up if necessary with the vodka, tightening the lid as well as you can. I put the bottle on 2 cycles of the dishwasher as one didnt seem enough -let it cool and enjoy. Very tasty.

    After making it once you can adjust the amount of sweets you put in to your own taste.

    A side note, when stored quite often the mixture seperates, dont worry just shake it.

  5. Amanda

    Hi, I am after a recipe for caramel vodka if any one has one please?! Just had a taste of some at a friends house and it was delicious. They bought it from a fete so no recipe. I seem to remember hearing about one recipe where you added a caramel bar to a bottle of vodka and put it in the dishwasher for one cycle!! Guess thats to heat it and melt the chocolate! Any one know anything about it? Many thanks.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Sarah

    Thank goodness you checked back! We just have one bottle of this – to be opened on Christmas Eve 🙂

  7. Sarah Smith

    I’m not used to measuring in milliliters…when I made the recipe I re-checked my math several times…65 ml to the sugar and fruit seemed too little, but I thought if the sugar turns to alcohol it will be OK. After reading the latest comments, I tasted the liquor…so sweet! I’ll be adding a lot more vodka tonight.

    Thanks again for a great website!


  8. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Steve

    Ooops! It should be 650ml.

  9. Hi Fiona,
    finally got around to trying this recipe! – can i just check the Vodka amount? 65ml seems very small! should it be cl ? i.e 650ml.

  10. ruth_dt

    Sounds great, but I’m afraid the added sugar won’t turn to alcohol!

    The vodka is strong enough to kill any yeast, so your sugar stays as sugar. Otherwise your drink would be as tart as fresh berries.

    I’ve got some blackcurrant on the go – which ends up tasting deceptively like Ribena if you leave it too long!

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