I am fortunate
to be a member of a syndicate that shoots over some glorious countryside along the base of the North Downs. Each year the guns, pickers-up and beaters compete in our own Homebrew Challenge with a tasting on Beaters’ Day – a fiercely competitive event.
■ 900g (2lb) raspberries, ripe and destalked (preferably home-grown and organic; this recipe uses the Glen Amble variety)
■ 700g (11⁄2lb) caster sugar
■ 2 litres (31⁄2 pints) good-quality gin
You will need
■ 1 x 3 litre (5 pints) clip-top Kilner jar
■ Set of scales
■ 3-5 bottles, depending on size
■ Jelly bag
Sort and weigh the rinsed raspberries discarding any that are not fully ripe or are too ripe and have gone mushy (raspberries may be frozen immediately after picking but need to be defrosted before using).
Put in the Kilner jar. Add the sugar to the jar and then fill with sufficient gin so that the remaining air is minimised when the lid is closed. You may not always use the full two litres.
Shake the jar gently until all the sugar has dissolved (this may take a couple of days). Once fully dissolved place the jar in a cool, dark place for 10 months, turning once every few weeks.
When ready, filter the mixture using a jelly bag, bottle and store for a further month or so.
Serve and impress.
It’s not rocket science but two things are important: good raspberries and giving the gin enough contact time with the fruit.
The Field’s Hip Flask Championships 2013
Winner – Traditional: Raspberry Gin
Winner – Off-piste: Beetroot and horseradish vodka
Highly Commended – Off-piste: Toffee vodka
Highly Commended – Traditional: Chilli Sloe Gin
Highly Commended – Traditional: Quardrum Plum Vodka
Highly Commended – Traditional: Gooseberry Gin