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Homemad​​e fruit gin and vodka

Homemade fruit gin and vodka are easy to make if you have access to the countryside. This blog is all about how to make flavoured gin and vodka using the fruit picked on our doorstep.

Autumn has settled in here, and our fire has been lit for several evenings in a row.  We rise to chilly dark mornings with a misty blanket over the river. Some weeks ago we collected rosehips and blackberries on one of our canoe trips upstream.  Along with a good crop of damsons we were given, we decided to try our hand at making some flavoured gin and vodka.

Rose hips picked and ready to use

Preparing the fruit

We didn’t have time to make anything when we got the fruit; so we put it into the freezer for a couple of weeks until we had more time. The beauty of freezing is that once thawed, the fruit is soft and the skins split easily. Exposing the juicy flesh then flavours the alcohol nicely. If you are going to use fresh fruit you may want to prick the skins first.

Buying your spirit

Friends have given us a variety of methods for making flavoured alcohol. However, most of them were for making large amounts requiring anything from 3-5 litres of spirit. We don’t have that much space for storage on a boat (and buying the base spirit can be costly). Therefore, the recipe for homemade gin and vodka we use only requires you to buy one litre of spirit. We keep the cost down by buying gin or vodka from the supermarket. At the bottling stage, you can either decant into one bottle, or several smaller ones if you would like to give some away as presents. If you are planning on giving these as presents, then you might want to think about making a batch to give the following year.

Choosing a recipe

The homemade gin and vodka recipe we used was for quince vodka.  We have adapted it to make both flavoured gin and vodka using damsons, blackberries and rosehips. Later once we have picked sloes we will try using those as well. We used the fruit separately, although you could try a combination of fruit. A friend used a similar recipe using a combination of rosehips and sloes and after a storing this for a year it tasted very good indeed.

The recipe below is the one we have used. The first time we made it we put the sugar and the fruit in first before the spirit. However, we found that you could get the sugar dissolving process going first by putting the fruit in last. Secondly, we decided to use golden caster sugar instead of white granulated sugar (as we have seen in other recipes), because this is what we normally buy. This way it meant that we were not spending any extra money on sugar that might get left in the cupboard. I would suggest that you do the same.

The bright red of rose hips (sometimes spelt rose hip or called rose haw, give a cheery colour to your homemade spirits


  • 454gms of fruit
  • 312gms caster sugar (we use golden caster sugar, but any will do)
  • 1 litre of gin or vodka
  • 2 Kilner jars (other suitable size jars will do, but they must have a good seal as you will need to shake them now an again during the process)


  • Wash the Kilner jars thoroughly in hot water and air dry. You can scald the jars at this point if you want to, but we didn’t bother.
  • Add 156gms of sugar to each jar
  • Add the spirit, dividing it equally between the two jars, then stir a little to dissolve some of the sugar
  • Divide the fruit between the two jars, close the lid and roll the jar gently back and forth to help dissolve more of the sugar (this is why you need a jar with a good seal!)
  • Store the jars in a cool dark place and agitate as above each day until the sugar is fully dissolved
  • After three months decant the liquid into bottles using a funnel (you can use a filter such as a coffee filter in the funnel if you prefer to have as little sediment as possible)
  • Store the bottles for a further 6-9 months for best results, although it should be palatable at the time of bottling.

Tip: The longer you keep it the better the flavour. If you want to resist dipping into it early then our advice is to store it in the most inaccessible place you can find.


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