Think of it this way; if you're making a stew, you add herbs and spices, which complement each other and work with the base sauce to create a single flavor. It’s similar with Gin; botanicals work with the grain Spirit to give ready-made complex flavors in one bottle.
So why not use this versatile Spirit in another way? Sweet or savory, from desserts to sauces, here's our selection of recipes to add a little Gin to your foodie repertoire.
Gin and Tonic Cake
This fail-safe recipe has won me baking competitions because it’s that good. And the best bit is, it’s super simple to do.
- 4 eggs, weighed in their shells
equal weight of:
- caster sugar
- self-raising flour
- 2 lemons
- 8-10 shots of your favorite Gin
- dash tonic water
- 150g granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C (or 165°C for a fan oven). Weigh the eggs in their shells, then weigh out the same amount of butter and caster sugar, and cream together until light, fluffy and pale. Crack in the eggs, and beat until combined. Sieve in the flour, mix again, then grate in the zest of the lemons. Add the juice of 1 lemon and 3-4 shots of Gin, then pour into a lined 1kg loaf tin. Bake for approximately 45 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool. Combine the sugar, Gin, tonic and remaining lemon juice in a bowl. Prick the surface of the cake with a fork, then pour over the drizzle.
Gin and Grapefruit Granita
This bitter, refreshing granita is similar to a sorbet but is less smooth in texture. The citrus and Gin flavor of these tiny shards of ice make a great topping for oysters - a real mix of textures and flavors, with the bitter grapefruit cutting through the salty oyster flesh.
I made this with Sipsmith Gin, which stands up really well to the grapefruit.
- 80ml London Dry Gin
- 90ml freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (approx. two large grapefruits)
Mix the Gin and grapefruit juice in a shallow container, cover and freeze overnight. The alcohol content of the Gin will stop the mixture from freezing entirely.
Remove from the freezer, roughly break up the ice crystals using a fork, and serve immediately.
Gin Cured Salmon
Curing is the act of preserving a cut of meat or fish using a mixture of salt, sugar, and other spices. The addition of Gin makes it even more exciting, with the alcohol adding to the preservative effect, and the botanicals imbuing flavor.
This recipe for Gravlax is one of our favorites; simple, luxurious and best when made with the freshest ingredients. It must be made a couple of days in advance, but it’s so worth it.
The best bit about this is it works with any style of Gin, from bold flavors to traditional styles. I’ve used a Lemon and Earl Grey Gin as well as Sloe Gin, and both worked really well.
- 1kg center-cut pieces salmon, skin on, pin-bones removed
- 200g coarse sea salt
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- 75g granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp dill seeds
- 1 tbsp coriander seeds
- cracked black pepper
- 2 limes, zest only
- 50ml Gin
- 75g fresh dill, roughly chopped
Mix the salt, muscovado sugar and granulated sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Grind the dill seeds, coriander seeds and black pepper to a powder in a pestle and mortar. Add this to the salt mixture, then stir in the lime zest, Gin, and chopped fresh dill until well combined.
Take a piece of aluminium foil large enough to wrap around both fillets of fish, and place one fillet, skin-side down, on top of it. Cover the salmon fillet with all of the salt mixture, then place the remaining salmon fillet, skin-side up, on top of it. Wrap the fillets tightly in the foil, then pierce a few holes in it using a cocktail stick (to allow excess liquid to drain from the fish).
Place the fish onto a baking tray and place another baking tray on top. Weigh the top baking tray down with a couple of house bricks or weights from a set of kitchen scales. Chill in the fridge for 2-3 days, turning the packet of fish every 6-8 hours, where possible.
When you’re ready to serve, scrape off any excess salt mixture and slice the fish very thinly on the diagonal using a sharp knife. Serve with rye bread and lemon wedges for that authentic Nordic flavor.
Have you ever used Gin in your cooking or baking? Let us know in the comments below.
- Cover photo Cooking with Gin - PHOTO: https://unsplash.com/ - Heather Ford
- Picture numbers 1 G&T cake - PHOTO: https://unsplash.com/ - Honey Fangs
- Picture numbers 2 Gin and oysters - PHOTO: https://unsplash.com/ - Laura Peruchi
- Picture numbers 3 Cured salmon - PHOTO: https://unsplash.com/ - David B Townsend