A while ago, I talked about our favours and how we'd decided to have Test Tube Shots, but hadn't decided what kind of booze to use yet. Well, we decided to make damson vodka! A friend of mine has a huge damson tree in her garden, and I'd tasted some of her damson gin and damson jam before and loved it. My dad mentioned making his own damson vodka recently and I suddenly thought "Why don't we have damson vodka as the test tube shots???". I don't know why it hadn't occured to me before!
Anyway, I went to my friends house and picked a load of damsons, then went and bought 3 70cl bottles of vodka. The best thing about damson vodka is that it is really easy to make.
All you need is:
70cl Bottle of vodka (or gin)
1lb of damsons
6 oz (170g) white sugar
A big, wide necked bottle (at least 1 litre) with a lid or stopper.
obviously, you need to multiply the quantities depending on how much you need to make. I need enough for about 80 shots, and I know from my days as a barmaid that a litre has 40 shots in it.
I ended up with 3 70cl bottles because they didn't have any litre bottlesin the shop, so I should have some left over (for me to..ahem...test).
Step 1: Wash the damsons and remove the stalks. Take out any that don't look too healthy.
Step 2: pour the vodka into the wide necked bottle and add the sugar. You can add the sugar last, or a bit at a time with the damsons. It doesn't really matter. I prefer to add it first so that I can see how much room is left in the bottle.
Step 3: Prick each damson several times and drop it into the vodka. I used a skewer, but a toothpick, drawing pin or fork works just as well. You don't have to do this step, but it helps. Some people prefer to put the fruit in the freezer so that the skins split.
Step 4: Continue pricking the fruit and adding it to the vodka until you either run out of fruit, or run out of room in the bottle.
Step 5: Put the lid or stopper on the bottle and turn it over a few times so that the sugar gets all mixed up. The sugar will settle back on the bottom relatively quickly though. Store the bottle in a cool, dry place for at least 3 months. Pick up and turn over everyday, to mix up the fruit and sugar.
After 3 months, it's ready to drink, but the longer you leave it, the nicer it gets (or so I've been told!). Ours was made today, and will be left until next summer, so it will have about 10 months! Yum!
The more sugar you add, the more syrupy the drink will be. You can always taste it after 3 months and add more sugar if you think it needs it. I have also been told that you need to keep the bottle somewhere away from sunlight, in order to keep the beautiful, deep colour.
Next year, when it's ready, we are going to put a shot of the vodka into test tubes from here and attach a sticker around each tube. I was thinking something along these lines:
Quick price breakdown for my favours:
Sugar: had already
Test Tubes: £15.99
labels: free (hopefully!)
Total per favour: 40p