Back in the summer we were approached by a local couple who had some damson trees on their land bearing more fruit than they knew what to do with. Adam popped up to have a look and came back with eyes wide and tales of heavily laden boughs.
A We have to go and pick them, Claire
C How many did you say?
A It would be such a waste to just leave them there.
C What would we do with them?
A So local, such short food miles
C But how many and what would we do with them?
A We’ll come up with something. It’ll work…..
A week later I was presented with around 200kg of damsons and we put a plan of action into place. Nothing like an unexpected curveball in the summer season! We started by distilling some of the damsons alongside some traditional gin botanicals (juniper, coriander and angelica) with some vanilla, cardamom and ground almonds to balance the tartness of the damson fruit.
We then soaked the rest of the damsons in the distilled gin - hence Double Damson. They were left in there for around 4 months before we pressed them and filtered it to create our Double Damson gin.
The result is a delightfully bold, tart and fruity gin which goes well with tonic water or lemonade to balance the sharpness of the damsons with the sweetness of the mixer. It is a beautiful deep reddy pink colour.
1% from each bottle sale is donated to Butterfly Conservation to help protect the butterflies on Dartmoor.
I await to see what unexpected curveballs Adam suggests this year……..