Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Booze of the Week: Raspberry Gin Liqueur

The only time I ever enjoyed ironing was the day I accidentally got gin in the steam iron. – Phyllis Diller

This is a delicious little concoction, admirably suitable for flavouring summer martinis.
Here’s another for your arsenal of summer backyard or patio “fancy drinks.” As the title says, it’s a gin liqueur. Liqueurs based on gin are not all that common. It has something to do with the distinct flavour of juniper berry, one would assume.

Most liqueurs are vodka-based because it has nearly no taste, or more accurately a taste that can be easily hidden. That’s why vodka takes to liqueurs like a duck to water. You can throw almost anything in it and come out with a more than passable result.

Not so with gin. You have to think about what to add to it. With gin the trick is to either make a liqueur that has a lot of innate flavour to overpower it, or one that complements.

One might not think of delicate raspberries as a very good contender, but oddly they are. The sweet berry taste of the fruit complements the juniper, while the addition of the lemon adds a bit of tang that helps bring it all together.

This raspberry gin won’t taste quite as sweet as a vodka-based raspberry due in great part to the botanicals in the gin. The sugar amount is the same, but the herbs lead it away from a syrupy liqueur. It’s a little difficult to describe. It smells like raspberry but when you taste it you know something’s going on behind the scenes. It’s quite wonderful.

I’m going to be modifying many of my liqueurs to gin-based over the next year, with appropriate alterations. This one turned out to be spectacular with the berry and lemon complementing the gin extraordinarily well. 

I may very well try this one with fresh loganberries later this summer. I have a friend who has canes that aren’t harvested. Loganberries have a stronger berry taste than raspberries.

A common summer drink is gin with cran-raspberry cocktail. If you like that, you’ll love this. It could even be a “booster” in that summer favourite.

Try a side-by-side comparison. Make the vodka raspberry liqueur (HERE) and this one and see how much of a difference the simple change in base flavour makes!

Raspberry Gin Liqueur
Yield: 2 x 375 ml
375 ml gin
2 cups raspberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Place the raspberries and gin in a Mason jar and let steep for 3 weeks. Shake vigorously daily for the first week.

After infusing, strain the mixture through a sieve, pressing the liquid from the fruit. Strain again through a fine cloth-lined sieve. This may take some time.

Bring the sugar, water and lemon juice to a boil in a saucepan and let boil for 5 minutes. Let cool and combine with the strained gin. Bottle.

Oh – and enjoy!


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