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Damson Plums


lperry
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I bought a quart of damsons today at the Annandale farmer's market. I was planning on jam or chutney, however, various web searches kept yielding references to homemade damson gin. Immediately following nearly every recipe is an anecdote relating how wonderful and irresistible the stuff is (both overindulgence and hangovers are frequently mentioned). So, because I am unfamiliar with this particular product, and I'm also wondering if I should invest some damsons in this particular project, I was hoping that someone here knew more. Anyone?

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I bought a quart of damsons today at the Annandale farmer's market. I was planning on jam or chutney, however, various web searches kept yielding references to homemade damson gin. Immediately following nearly every recipe is an anecdote relating how wonderful and irresistible the stuff is (both overindulgence and hangovers are frequently mentioned). So, because I am unfamiliar with this particular product, and I'm also wondering if I should invest some damsons in this particular project, I was hoping that someone here knew more. Anyone?

The idea is intriguing to you, so start with a small batch to see whether you do in fact like it. It's not like it involves a major investment in equipment or anything. If you don't like it, you're only out the cost of a bottle of gin and a quart of plums. If you do like it, you can make more.

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Because? I guess I'm looking for a comparison. If you like port, you will like damson gin, for example. Or is it mixed?

I guess I was just trying to up my post count :lol:

But seriously, Plymouth Damson Gin has always been one of my favorite beverages. It was a darker and richer version of Sloe Gin. Unfortunately, they stopped making it so if I had some Damson Plums I would buy a bottle of Plymouth and let the flesh steep away.

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The idea is intriguing to you, so start with a small batch to see whether you do in fact like it. It's not like it involves a major investment in equipment or anything. If you don't like it, you're only out the cost of a bottle of gin and a quart of plums. If you do like it, you can make more.

This is the problem, I think. I am always intrigued by these sorts of things, but I've also made some pretty awful stuff. I'm not the sort to drink liqueurs or spirits straight, so I wasn't quite sure what I might do with it once it is done. I just like the idea of making it. I guess I'm more of a journey than destination person, but I'd still like the destination to be useful and good.

But seriously, Plymouth Damson Gin has always been one of my favorite beverages. It was a darker and richer version of Sloe Gin. Unfortunately, they stopped making it so if I had some Damson Plums I would buy a bottle of Plymouth and let the flesh steep away.

I've never had sloe gin either, although I've heard many sing it's praises. Is this the sort of thing that is an after dinner liqueur?

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I just like the idea of making it. I guess I'm more of a journey than destination person, but I'd still like the destination to be useful and good.

So if it turns out well, bottle it in pretty bottles and give away as presents. Then you have the fun of making it but not the waste of having it sit around.

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So if it turns out well, bottle it in pretty bottles and give away as presents. Then you have the fun of making it but not the waste of having it sit around.

Along with the Meyer lemoncello, the spiced pears, the jams, the chutneys, the preserves etc... Seriously. I'm pathological. :lol: But I just found a recipe for a sloe gin fizz made with champagne, and I think a damson gin fizz sounds fantastic, so a few of these pretties are off to the freezer and I'm off to the ABC to buy some cheap gin.

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I'm off to the ABC to buy some cheap gin.
I would not go too cheap, personally I would stick with Plymouth which is not that pricey, and offers a great neutral palette. You may need to add some simple syrup as well, but you can do that when you are done soaking the plums.
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No! Don't use cheap gin! Use decent gin!

I'd suggest Plymouth meself.

I would not go too cheap, personally I would stick with Plymouth which is not that pricey, and offers a great neutral palette. You may need to add some simple syrup as well, but you can do that when you are done soaking the plums.

Warning against cheap gin duly noted. I was thinking something like Gordon's, but I'll look for Plymouth. The only thing I have on hand is Sapphire.

The recipes I've seen call for adding sugar rather than simple, I assume to cut down on dilution. But they also recommend "cheap gin." :lol: I hope this turns out well - I've tasted the damsons (I chose a ripe one), and I like them well enough that I'm considering a tree to replace a cherry we lost recently. I've had varying success with homemade liqueurs using vodka, the best being the lemoncello from last year and some peach I made ages ago.

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Here they are in their gin bath where they will stay for a month. I took a picture to prove I bought the Plymouth. :lol:

post-3913-1218930351_thumb.jpg

Interesting--did the recipe you use recommend putting the plums in whole? I would have guessed that cutting them in half and exposing the inner flesh to the gin would give greater flavor to the brew. You can always filter out any pulp that gets left behind when you are ready to use it.

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Interesting--did the recipe you use recommend putting the plums in whole? I would have guessed that cutting them in half and exposing the inner flesh to the gin would give greater flavor to the brew. You can always filter out any pulp that gets left behind when you are ready to use it.

The classic recipe calls for them to go in whole, but only after piercing the flesh with a silver needle (fork tines also work).

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The recipe I used called for freezing the plums so they crack when you pour in the gin, so I suppose it is an updated classic method. I didn't hear the cracking like I was supposed to, so I did a little puncturing with a fork just to be sure. At the end of the process, you are supposed to use the plums in desserts, so keeping them whole is somewhat desirable. Although I'm not sure how you are supposed to get the pits out then, unless you leave that to your dining companions.

Edited to add a link to the recipe: Click

I saw damsons also at the Courthouse market this weekend if anyone else is interested.

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**Update** I'm two months in now, and I just tasted the infusion. The nose is fruity/medicinal - like a cross between Dimetapp and Robitussin. Or at least those were the childhood memories that got dragged into the forefront of my consciousness as soon as I smelled it. It tastes intensely plummy and sweet, although it still has that edge to it that homemade liqueurs have until you age them a bit. I will say that if I didn't know I had started with gin, I would never guess now that was what I used. I have left the plums in the jar due to information gleaned from further research indicating that you can get a bit of almond flavor from the pits if you don't take them out. Two months to go...

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The damson gin has been aging in a dark cupboard since Christmas, and last night we poured some into champagne flutes and topped it off with Barboursville Brut. It was a little sweet, but delicious. Without the sparkling wine it was smooth and very sweet (I may back off on the sugar next time), and there was no remaining trace of the botanicals from the gin.

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I've still got an entire bottle of the damson gin remaining, and it has gotten better with age. It's just so sweet that I haven't used it much, although I'm seeing the possibilities in concoctions where I can add more of a sour element. I thought I would whip up some damson gin fizzes for dinner tonight, so I started searching around and found this bit of news. So maybe I should save it for the inevitable avalanche of recipes to come?

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