Thursday, April 18, 2013

Summer Is Coming. Gin Is Involved.

Is it wrong to be thinking about summer when spring has barely sprung?  I think not, especially when a little advance planning will result in a cranberry-infused adult beverage.

Flipping through a preserving cookbook recently, I came across a recipe for cranberry gin.  Simple enough -- basically add cranberries and sugar to gin and wait 3 months.  It was in the summer section of the book, with notes of enjoying the finished beverage by a warming fire in the wintertime.  I thought that pretty odd since cranberries are available in the fall/winter season, until I recalled that the author is from Australia and their seasons are opposite from ours here in the northern hemisphere.

Summer here is really not that far away, so with a bag of cranberries languishing in my freezer and visions of hot summer nights spent on the deck with a refreshing gin & tonic dancing in my head, I decided to give this a try.  DH wondered why I wouldn't just add cranberry juice to some gin, but I think that's just one question too many.  <g>

This is the gin right after mixing the ingredients.  After about a week, the sugar has fully dissolved and the gin is a dark pink.  It should be interesting to see the final result in about 3 months.  Cheers.

From Art of Preserving by Jan Berry
1 lb cranberries
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (aka superfine or ultrafine sugar)*
3 cups (750mL) gin
Place cranberries in a large sterilized jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Add the sugar and gin, close the jar, and shake gently.  Store in a dark place for 3 months, shaking daily for the 1st month and weekly thereafter.  Strain through a fine mesh or muslin-lined sieve into a sterilized bottle and discard the fruit pulp.  Store in a cool dark place. 
*Caster sugar is a fine sugar somewhere in between regular granulated sugar and confectioner's (powered) sugar.  It is sold in my area under the C&H brand as "Baker's Sugar."  This sugar will dissolve much better than regular sugar, so do use it.  It can be used in place of regular sugar in baking, so have no fear of having leftover sugar.
Note:  I used a 12-oz bag of frozen cranberries and reduced the amount of sugar and gin accordingly.

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