You may well have seen the launch of the cranberry gin experiment last month and I appreciate that unless you joined in, you may not have been waiting with quite such baited breath for the results. However we have. The bottles have been tempting us each time we open the cupboard they are in and we were excited when we decided they had probably had long enough. I can tell you now the results are pretty great so I thought you might like to know the details and have another chance at joining us, if not now then bookmarked for another time.
So just to remind you, we made three different versions of cranberry gin in the end to see what the impact of the different additions were and also doing some with frozen berries, others pricking fresh berries. The recipes are in the part 1 post, though we still had to put sugar in at the end to get the right flavor. So what did we find?
Well, first off on looking at the bottles you could really see how the cinnamon had contributed to a more orange color in that bottle. Also, though it is a little hard to say for certain since there are different additions, (we clearly needed at least one more bottle to be able to do a true comparison) it looks like there has been more color come out of the berries that were pierced compared to the frozen ones. Typical, of course, since they take a bit more work. Even before trying them, I have to say what a beautiful color they all look. There has really been a change as you can see from the picture above just the day after making them.
The big question, though, of course, is how do they all taste. Naturally this was the most difficult bit of the whole experiment. First, we made some simple sugar syrup so we could add a little at a time to get a taste we liked. The amount you use will depend on your taste and how sweet the berries were that you used, so the below is only a guide. Then, we tested how much syrup to mix with each and they all seemed to work on about the same 1 part sugar syrup to 6 parts cranberry gin, so we might actually put it in at the start next time to make things easier. Honest, I will get to the tasting notes in just a second, but first look at how different they all look color-wise in the glass. You can really see the difference, which (see, I am getting there) does come through in the taste.
Cranberry with orange, berries were pierced-
This was the most cranberry and gin tasting of the lot. If you like the taste of both, then this is the one for you. It is probably pretty much exactly what you would imagine cranberry-infused gin to taste like. It has that lovely fruity tartness of the cranberries but a definite gin undertone. It tastes pretty good on its own, though it’s fairly strong, but our recommendation would be served on the rocks with a slice of lime.
Cranberry with orange and cinnamon, frozen berries-
The cranberry flavor was less obvious here but the cinnamon really came through and if you like the idea of a festive-flavored liqueur, then this is perfect for you. If you are not a cinnamon fan, then don’t even try it. I have yet to test it, but I can imagine it would be good as part of a warm cocktail (I haven’t had these for years, but I remember having them one cold night at a bar in London and they were great!) or mixed with red wine to make a spiked mulled wine. I would like to try this with the berries pierces as I think a stronger cranberry flavor might help balance out the cinnamon and complement it really well.
Cranberry with lemon and rosemary, frozen berries-
There wasn’t a particularly strong cranberry flavor here either, but the lemon and rosemary gave this a lovely mellow, aromatic flavor. For me, this was one of the easiest to drink, but I can understand if you are a gin fan it might taste less gin-like and there isn’t a whole lot of cranberry flavor. It is however very drinkable and would be great mixed with tonic as well.
Overall, it seems it did really make a difference to the amount of cranberry flavor to pierce the berries and then it is down to your taste whether you want some of the other flavors to come through as well. I was pleasantly surprised by just how different the character of each of the gins was based on the additions, but they all tasted good in their own way. So, do give it a try and experiment with your own flavors, I would love to hear what you try!
Finally, I know this is a little off-topic from the cranberry gin, but I didn’t want to waste any time in sharing with you that I am now contributing to a great site called HintMama and my first hint was posted there today – 5 ways to reduce or eliminate sugar in cookies. I am looking forward to adding to their collection of hints and tips to help parents’ lives be that bit easier. Maybe Jennifer would like some cranberry gin…
After a few weeks of infusing, it's time to enjoy the gin! Finish off with some simple syrup for a deliciously seasonal drink.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cups matured cranberry gin see previous post
Put the sugar and water in a small pan and place over a medium-low heat.
Stir and warm until the sugar dissolves then allow to cool.
Mix one part sugar syrup with one part cranberry gin, or a little more sugar syrup if you prefer it a little sweeter.