I just came across something that caused my ears to prick and get my research gears cranking: Hedgerow Gin. With roots in the British Isles, Hedgerow Gin is a means to preserve the fall’s wild fruit bounty by producing a liqueur for the next year. I was filled with mental images of long hedgerows in the English countryside on a misty fall morning, with the light being ‘just so’, highlighting the changing colors of the season. I knew I needed to learn more and make a batch myself.
There is not a lot written about Hedgerow Gin. I suspect from the little I did find that it is more of a naturally practiced art and one people just know about how to make it rather than one requiring a recipe and tons of background. It seems to be a close relative of ‘Sloe Gin’ which you’ve undoubtedly heard about, though is quite different than the version sold in liquor stores. Sloe gin uses ‘sloes’, a small berry-like fruit which is actually in the plum family. They are combined with gin and sugar and left to sit to make a liqueur.
Hedgerow Gin casts a wider net, often using sloes but only as part of a broader group of fruits found on hedges in the wild. Wild damson plums, bullaces, elderberries, raspberries, blackberries, rosehips, and blueberries are some of the other fruits I’ve read about. The fruit content can be a sole hedgerow fruit or a mixture of your choosing, combined with gin and sugar.
Hedgerow Gin reminds me of Cherry Bounce which dates back in our American history to George Washington and is made with bourbon (though I’ve seen recipes with a variety of liquors), tart cherries and sugar. All these concoctions take mere moments to assemble and sit in a dark pantry awaiting their eventual liquid perfection. In the case of Hedgerow Gin it is suggested it sit for a year. One could imagine an era when seasons were accepted and revered, before the current mono-season of everything being available all the time, how putting by the fall fruits would be celebrated the next fall for what they’d become.
I may get some hand slapping from my British friends for this Yank version of Hedgerow Gin but I’ll chance it. As far as I’ve been able to learn Sloes and Wild Damson plums are not common in the U.S. and not in my area. I am combining raspberries (red and gold) I picked at a local farmette (from a hedgerow), local blackberries, some dried rosehips and Italian prune plums also from a local farm. The plums bear some similarity in shape and flesh tone to Damsons and I’m choosing to embrace the spirit of the drink with their addition in lieu of finding wild plums in my area.
Hedgerow Gin: How to Make Your Own
- 8 ounces Italian Prune Plums , halved and pitted
- 8 ounces mixed hedge berries (red raspberries, golden raspberries, blackberries)
- Pinch of Rosehips
- 2 cups Gin
- 1 ½ cups Granulated Sugar
- Place all ingredients in a wide mouth glass jar with sealing lid.
- Turn the jar up and down weekly to disperse the sugar in the liquid. Place in a dark pantry or cupboard for a year. And if you can’t wait a year, taste it after 3 months and then decide if you are ready to drink it or leave it be! When ready to consume, pour liquid through a sieve or filter and retain the fruits to eat.
Post Script. Following making this recipe and post I came upon a charming blog from the U.K. with wonderful recipes including Hedgerow Gin. I left the writer a comment and she responded with some information on Hedgerow Gin I wanted to share. To check out her blog, click here: Tarragon & Thyme.
“Hi Toni, have had a peep at your blog – you have the right idea about the Hedgerow Gin. You use what you have on hand. Before the days of supermarkets country people used to put up what they could in the pantry especially if they lived in the villages. These little tippies were often classed as medicinal but it was also part of something special for the festivities to hand to a guest or guests on a cold winter’s night. Soon invigorated the spirit and the soul. Country wines were also very much on the agenda, but in those days too people used to grow their own a lot more and often had a surplus which had to be used up in one way or another. Glad you liked my blog and look forward to you posting too. Take care and welcome, Pattypan”
Lea Ann says
Ya know, I sure do wish you were my next door neighbor! 🙂
Beautiful Toni. I love all of the antique pieces you have. Great photos.
My comments are now enabled for my new url. Thanks for the heads up. You can find the comment option at the bottom of the posts.
Just mouthwatering…looks so easy to prepare and delicious.
Totally gorgeous photos, excellent text. As a person to whom alcohol is not so friendly, I admire your culinary forays into this territory which isn't usually on my radar screen.
What a fabulous idea!! And, as always, stunning photos, Toni!!
I've just started my first batch of sloe gin. Might put a few rosehips into the next one after reading your post!
Chef Dennis says
now I have never been a gin fan, but I think you just converted me, that looks amazingly delicious! I love those golden raspberries, have only seen them once around here!
Karen Harris says
I'm not so familiar with “Hedgerow Gin” per se but I do look forward to my fall trips to the UK and tasting the yearly batches of damson and elderflower cordials that abound. Aw, you have me really homesick now! Even though I'm not a big gin lover, raspberry vodka is one of my favorite home brews.
Angela FRS says
Looks beautiful–we pick wild plums every year, and berries sound like a welcome addition. I will definitely try this.
You just blew my mind with this post. I have never heard of this type of Gin, but now that I have — I have to have some. This looks like everything I love in one bottle. Great post, Toni!
Kirsten@My German Kitchen...in the Rockies says
Toni, I love this recipe! Gin is my kind of drink and this recipe reminds me of a “Rumtopf” (rum pot) my dad used to make. So instead of Gin he used rum. I prefer the gin. I have to ask my mom how long it had to sit. One year seams so long.
Your pictures are gorgeous. I especially like the one with the sugar!