As the 6th June is World Gin Day, I thought (somewhat foolishly) I’d make some rose gin from the heady blooms that sway gently in the breeze around my door. As the sun hits the flowers, it warms the petals and the scent from them is intoxicating. Because of the cold weather earlier in the year, the season started late, which means my gin isn’t going to be ready for this Saturday. Not all is lost as it will be fit for quaffing in a couple of weeks when the summer really hits; fingers crossed it will be gloriously sunny and cocktails can be sipped in the garden as the flowers nod in a gentle cooling breeze (says she, ever the optimist!). I know full well, it is more than likely to be the complete opposite!
This is how it all began …
Collect as many heavily scented roses that you can find, they must be pesticide free. You will need quite a few, as the discard pile will be about two-thirds of what you collect.
Pick the petals from the stems discarding any that are blemished. Now, this is where it becomes a labour of love, as you have to remove the heel, the yellow or white bit at the base of the petals. I sat at the garden table in the sun to do this. I cannot tell you how gorgeous the scent was.
Once picked over, pop them into a colander and give them a good rinse to get rid of any creepy crawlies, dirt, dust or pollen. Give them a firm squeeze to bruise them, therefore releasing some of their essence.
Squish them into a jar. I would normally use a Kilner jar, but they are otherwise engaged, then fill to the top with your gin of choice. I used a cheapie from the local supermarket. Give it a good prod and pop on the lid. Store somewhere cool and dark.
Give the jar a good shake every day for about 10 days. Strain, discard the petals, which will be drained of colour, like a pallid Brontë heroine.
Pour into sterilised bottles and drink at your leisure over the summer!
The deeper the colour of the roses, the darker the gin will be.
© Lea Harris, In the Kitchen with BakersBunny, 2018.