They say good things come to those who wait — I’m hoping this will be the case with the blackberry whiskey I made this week. The whiskey in the jar has already turned a vivid pink after just one day, but after a few more weeks of dutifully shaking the jar, it will get put to the back of the cupboard for a whole year* before it’s ready to drink. But what a treat it will be then, served neat or in a hot toddy, or maybe even a shot or two added to an apple and blackberry crumble. Time will tell, and I have a whole year to dream up things to do with it.
*If a year is too long to wait, try making blackberry vodka instead following the same method but using vodka instead of whiskey. It will be ready to drink in 8 weeks.
Folklore says the devil spits on blackberries on Michaelmas (September 29), but I quite like the idea of blackberries picked after that date giving this whiskey a wicked little twist…
Makes enough to fill a 1 litre jar
Don’t use top-shelf whiskey for this, but don’t use the cheapest brand either (I used Jameson). I made a 1 litre jar worth of whiskey, figuring that if I had to put it aside for a year, I may as well go ahead and make a lot, but the recipe I got my inspiration from in the Guardian just used a small jam jar. Whatever size jar you use, just fill it up with blackberries and then add the sugar and whiskey accordingly.
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) blackberries
granulated or caster sugar
First sterilise a 1 litre Kilner jar or other wide-necked jar either by running it through your dishwasher and using it immediately or by washing it well in hot, soapy water, then placing the jar in an oven preheated to 140°C (275°F) for 10 minutes (if you’re using a screw-top jar, put the metal lids in the oven too). Either way, make sure not to touch the inside of the jar.
Wash the blackberries, then set them out on paper towels to dry. Place more paper towels on top of the berries and pat gently to absorb any water.
Place the dry blackberries in the sterilised jar, then pour in enough sugar until it comes two-thirds of the way up the jar. Pour in the whiskey up to the top, then leave it for a few minutes to settle into all the nooks and crannies amongst the berries and the sugar. Top up the jar again with whiskey until it comes to the brim. Close the lid tightly and gently shake the jar from side to side to dissolve the sugar.
Shake the jar once or twice a day for 2 weeks, then once a week for a further 6 to 8 weeks, keeping it out of direct sunlight during this time. Store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year before drinking. And after their long soaking, don’t discard the berries — I’ve already got plans to use them in a boozy blackberry fool.