Foragers hate to let anything go to waste and the abundant rosehip is a temptation not to be resisted. It is not the easiest of fruits to use in the kitchen because of the dangerously hairy seeds nestling inside, but rosehip vodka avoids such perils, as the stomach-irritating seeds remain safely where they are. Like most other children of my generation I was brought up on a daily spoonful of rosehip syrup by way of apology for the daily dose of cod liver oil. What my mother never gave me was rosehip vodka; I guess she kept that for herself.
Any rosehip from any rose garden or wild will work, though the gigantic hips of the Japanese rose are likely to rot before they make a good infusion unless you pick them while they are still very firm. Rosehips come in two varieties – under-ripe and over-ripe but never, it seems, ripe. With small hips it does not matter which you use. Made to the same recipe as sloe gin, but with a little less sugar, the flavour is surprisingly fruity with a distinct note of vanilla.
- Yield: 600 ml
- 300 g firm rosehips
- 120 g sugar
- 600 ml vodka
- Place the rosehips and sugar in a 1-litre Kilner jar, top up with the vodka, close the lid and shake. Store in a dark cupboard, shaking once a day until the sugar has dissolved.
- Decant the infused vodka from the rosehips after 4 months and bottle. Allow to mature for 3 months before drinking.