This is a really simple recipe for a delicious blackberry liqueur that will truly delight. You could give it away as a gift (but I will warn you, you might not want to part with a single drop!). It’s so easy to make, but it does take about twelve to eighteen months until it’s finally ready to drink properly so you’re in for the long-haul!
All credit for this recipe goes to John Wright’s River Cottage Cookbook – Booze.
The ingredients are straightforward:
- fresh blackberries (these are normally ripe from mid-August into the Autumn) – go out and pick loads, there are so many things you can do with them! You can also buy blackberries from supermarkets if you’ve missed blackberrying season. I won’t judge, but I do recommend setting a reminder for next year!
- Sugar – caster sugar (supermarket home brand is fine) or in my case I had some palm sugar that had been sitting at the back of a cupboard so I just whacked that in as well.
- Whisky. No need to panic here. Any own brand or no name whisky is fine; it really doesn’t matter too much. Maybe not paint-stripper, but you don’t need to push the boat out here. A fine single malt whisky is meant to be enjoyed on its own – respect the good whisky and save it for sipping. In the past I’ve used Bell’s for this recipe, but really anything fairly cheap and cheerful will do. This time round, an £11 bottle from Iceland went in.
As well as being easy, this is also hella cheap compared to what you could be spending on a similar product elsewhere. I just saw a bottle of Blackberry Whisky on sale for £55 per litre …! Considering mine cost £11.30 (£11 for the whisky, and roughly £0.30p for the sugar I used) that’s pretty extravagant!
As it’s such a long wait time before this is ready I also recommend you make in bulk as far as possible. Trust me, the second you taste it, you’ll wish you’d made another one. I realised this last June, and had to wait another eight weeks before the blackberries were ready to start my next batch!
- Bog standard blended whisky
- Rinse your blackberries gently (and if you picked them fresh, try to remove any squirmy creatures that might have hitched a ride…)
- Fill a clean one litre kilner jar two-thirds up with blackberries.
- Sprinkle sugar over until it covers the bottom half of the blackberries.
- Fill the rest of the jar up with whisky. It’ll bubble through the sugar and berries so keep checking and topping up.
- Close then shake the jar vigorously and put somewhere dark and coolish.
- Every day (or twice a day) for the next few days, go over and shake it about again.
- Do this until all the sugar has dissolved.
- Now, you leave it for the next six months. (Plenty of time to start other projects going)
- After six long months have passed, get a sieve and strain the deliciousness into a few clean glass bottles. Now is the perfect time to taste a bit…
- Don’t discard the blackberries, as you could make a delicious boozy blackberry and apple crumble out of them. Perfect.
- Now, leave the bottles again, somewhere cool and dark for at least another six months – ideally you should let the whisky sit for another year before you open it again, but we dare you to wait that long.
Some variations you could try…
- Not much to play with here; the type of sugar you use will be the main thing. I’m planning to make a few batches this year using dark muscovado or maple sugar compared to simple white caster sugar, and I’ll see what difference that makes. I guess I’ll report back in… 2022?
- The author of the book (John Wright) says that blackberry whisky is the only fruit-whisky combo he’s found that actually tasted good… but I’m a little curious to see if Morello Cherry whisky doesn’t taste amazing! Give me some time and I’ll get back to you.
If you’ve made a similar variation, but did something differently, or have any other tips or thoughts on this recipe, I’d love to hear them below! I used the the last batch we made as Christmas presents for booze-loving friends – I decorated some bottles with paint and pretty labels to really make them show-stopping. If you want to see a post on how I go about presenting alcoholic gifts, let me know in the comments!