Damson gin in glasses and decanter with label

Damson gin

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(8 ratings)

Prep: 30 mins plus 12 hours freezing and 2-3 months maturing time


Makes 1.5 litres

Bottle up a taste of autumn with our homemade damson gin. The flavour matures and improves over time. The recipe can also be used to make damson vodka

Nutrition and extra info

  • Gluten-free
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan

Nutrition: per 25ml

  • kcal63
  • fat0g
  • saturates0g
  • carbs5g
  • sugars5g
  • fibre0g
  • protein0g
  • salt0g
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  • 500g damsons



    A small fruit with vibrant dark blue skin and a strong, sour flavour, damsons are similar to…

  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 1l bottle gin or vodka



    Gin has enjoyed a huge revival recently. It's usually served alongside tonic water (a…


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Lyn Renton's picture
Lyn Renton
23rd Mar, 2020
There is absolutely no need to 'bash' or prick the damsons if you freeze them first - they will split naturally. All bashing will do is make your gin cloudy.
Liz Fryman's picture
Liz Fryman
6th Oct, 2019
I let my damsons defrost before I bashed them and it worked perfectly, much easier than pricking each one. Thanks for the recipe BBC
Hannah Cornish's picture
Hannah Cornish
20th Sep, 2019
It is virtually impossible to smash a frozen damson. I tried with a rolling pin, which is now covered in little dints, and also a stone pestle and mortar. Just pick them with a pin while fresh. It's actually the easiest option.
Jane Johnson's picture
Jane Johnson
12th Sep, 2019
Once you’ve taken the gin off the fruit make damson sherry. Just pour a bottle of sherry, I use a supermarket own pale cream, over the fruit and leave for a coupon months.
decomble's picture
29th Aug, 2019
I had some success by just pricking them, then after all the Damson Gin had been removed, I sliced each damson (yes it took a day!!!), removed the stones, and served the damsons with ice cream. That way you don't lose all the damsons, and they are lovely with ice cream (If you can be bothered!!)
Hmcd's picture
4th Jul, 2020
Why do people take the gin off the fruit, and decant into clean bottles. I’ve always just left mine, Damson and sloe gin, for a minimum of five years on the fruit, and drink as is. It goes very syrupy and delicious. Never had one spoil. Just opened a bottle of 9 year old. Mmm.
lulu_grimes's picture
6th Jul, 2020
Hi, Removing the stones is a safety precaution. Stone fruit pits contain cyanogenic glycoside amygdalin, a toxin that can lead to cyanide poisoning if the pits are damaged and a large quantity is ingested. Although this is highly unlikely to happen, we can't know how people follow recipes so we err on the side of caution. There's a link to a scientific paper below if you are interested. Lulu http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/83873/2/Bolarinwa.pdf
23rd Sep, 2019
Can you use damsons that have been de stoned and cut in half to make damson gin?
goodfoodteam's picture
24th Sep, 2019
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can. We suggest using as is because it's much easier.
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