For the last few years I’ve been making damson gin, foraging for the gorgeous, rich and mildly astringent plum subspecies towards the end of September and letting them sit in a good gin with a little muscovado sugar ‘til Christmas Eve when I’ll make up a bottle, saving the rest for Easter or maybe even the following Christmas.
Fortunately there’s a wealth of damson trees around here as it was a popular hedging tree for farmers and land owners, and one of my local stately homes, Chillington Hall (the estate has been home to the Gifford family since the 1100′s, the rather ugly red brick house is of Georgian construction), has ‘em in abundance. So it was I found m’self with 10lb of fruit this year, enough for multiple batches of gin, a few pots of jam, a couple of damson crumbles, and even enough for some homemade damson ice cream. Excellent!
The first bottling of the resulting tipple was just lovely, med-sweet, obscenely rich and fruity courtesy of the damsons, and with a lovely hit of juniper, almond, and other botanicals peeking through. Looking forward to bottling more over Easter, cheers all!
Apil 20th - continuing my ride home, I took a spin down Lower Avenue, near Brewood. This overgrown wooded approach to Chillington Hall is charming and secluded. Where it crosses the Shropshire Union Canal, it does so by means of a gorgeous bridge. I first came hear 27 years ago, and the ride has lost none of it’s charm in that time.