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 flavour. It’s similar with Gin; botanicals work with the grain spirit to give ready-made complex flavours in one bottle.
So why not use this versatile spirit in another way? Sweet or savoury, from desserts to sauces, here's our selection of recipes to add a little Gin to your foodie repertoire.
Gin and Tonic CakeThis 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:
8-10 shots of your favourite 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 GranitaThis bitter, refreshing granita is similar to a sorbet, but is less smooth in texture. The citrus and Gin flavour of these tiny shards of ice make a great topping for oysters - a real mix of textures and flavours, 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 freezing entirely.
Remove from the freezer, roughly break up the ice crystals using a fork, and serve immediately.
Gin Cured SalmonCuring 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 flavour.
This recipe for Gravlax is one of our favourites; 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 flavours to traditional styles. I’ve used a Lemon and Earl Grey Gin as well as Sloe Gin, and both worked really well.
1kg centre-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
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 flavour.
Have you ever used Gin in your cooking or baking? Let us know in the comments below.