Here is a very exciting and easily made wild aperitif by Peter. I don’t know about you, but I’m going straight out for a walk to find some Beech leaves!
700ml bottle of gin Young beech leaves - enough so the gin just covers 150g white sugar 40ml brandy Large jar/container
Don’t bother using quality gin. In my experience the cheaper the better. The more expensive gin often has flavours that mask the leaves. The brandy (cheap too) is left out by some, but I find it rounds the drink off nicely. Some recipes use more sugar but I find this far too sweet.
Gather young, soft, bright green beech leaves. Remove any twigs. Lightly pack enough leaves in a jar so that a 700ml bottle of gin just covers them. Close the container and leave for a minimum of 3 weeks. I usually leave the leaves in for 6 weeks but if you haven’t got the patience it doesn’t make much difference. After this time, strain through a fine muslin and discard the leaves. (Mind you, there could well be some use for these gin soaked leaves.) Make a light sugar syrup by adding 170g sugar to 300ml of water. Gently heat so that all the sugar dissolves. When cool, add this sugar syrup to the gin. Lastly ,add about 40ml of brandy to finish off and bottle. You can drink it right away but it’ll mature and be much smoother if you leave it for a couple of months. I normally leave mine for 6, but this is a bit extreme! It only improves with age and the colour will darken over time.