Rinse and pick over the damsons to remove any leaves and stalks, then pat dry, tip into a freezer bag and freeze overnight. The next day, bash the bag of damsons a couple of times with a rolling pin and then tip the lot into a 2-litre Kilner jar, or divide between 2 smaller jars.
Pour in the sugar and gin, and put the lid on. Shake well. Each day for a week, give the jar a good shake until all the sugar has dissolved, then put it in a cool, dark place and leave for 2-3 months.
Line a plastic sieve with a square of muslin (or use a coffee filter in a cone for a really refined gin) and strain the damson gin through it. Decant into clean, dry bottles, seal and label. The gin is now ready to drink, but will improve and mature over time – it will keep for over a year, if you can wait that long.
An easy shortcutFreezing the damsons and then bashing them will help release the juice and is far less of a faff than pricking each one with a fork. Filter the gin as well as you can – this prevents sediment from settling at the bottom of the bottles.
VariationsUse this quantity of fruit to sugar and gin and make as much as you like. You can also use vodka instead of gin if you prefer, which gives a slightly ‘cleaner’ flavour.