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How to make blackberry vodka

The first blackberries of the year appear in August, but the later you leave it, the juicier and sweeter they will be. The bramble bush grows in abundance across much of our countryside, and for a few weeks every year we all fall in love with it - especially the birds!

Blackberry vodka. © Elena Kirey/Getty

Blackberries are distinctive, with thorny branches (watch out if you’re harvesting) and little red-purple-black fruits made of individual ‘drupe’s – little drops that hold the seeds and juice.

Go for ones that are black and shiny, and give them a good wash to remove any dirt or insects that could be lurking.

Foraging blackberries. © Mint Images/Getty
Foraging blackberries. © Mint Images/Getty
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Ingredients

  • Blackberries 40g
  • Caster sugar 150g
  • Vodka As much as will fit in your jar(s)
  • Cloves or star anise Optional

Method

  • Step 1

    Freeze your blackberries in a bag or Tupperware box overnight. This will mimic the first frost, which will make them sweet and juicy. The next morning, mix the frozen berries with the caster sugar in a bowl.

    Frozen blackberries. © Westend61/Getty
    Frozen blackberries. © Westend61/Getty
  • Step 2

    Pour the berries and sugar into a sterilised jar (or distribute evenly between your bottles). I’ve also seen recipes that add a sprinkle of cloves (four or five) at this stage, or a star anise, but that is dependent on your own taste.

    Top up with vodka, seal securely and give a gentle shake.

    Blackberries in a jar © Cathy Scola/Getty
    Blackberries in a jar © Cathy Scola/Getty
  • Step 3

    Pop your vodka in a cool, dry cupboard somewhere and shake it a few times in the first couple of weeks. Then forget about it for around three months. If you’re harvesting in the autumn, this will make your vodka perfect for Christmas.

    Blackberry vodka. © Ron Bailey/Getty
    Blackberry vodka. © Ron Bailey/Getty
  • Step 4

    Strain the contents of the jar or bottles through a muslin cloth and into a bowl, leaving the rich, dark purple liquid free from bits of fruit. Decant into clean sterilised jars or bottles and serve as a Christmas drink, either straight or with a mixer like soda water or lemonade.

    Blackberry vodka. © Elena Kirey/Getty
    Blackberry vodka. © Elena Kirey/Getty

Lucy McRobert is a communications manager at The Wildlife Trusts, and helped to set up the annual national campaign 30 Days Wild. She is a keen birder and cetacean-watcher, and believes that a wild life is a happier, healthier life.

Lucy McRobert

This is a recipe from 365 Days Wild, published by Harper Collins Publishers.

365 Days Wild by Lucy McRobert

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