This delicious Christmas gin is packed with the warm spice of Christmas pudding flavours. Ready to sip and enjoy after just a few days, this homemade gin liqueur is perfect as a Christmas gift or to add to your holiday cocktails.
Winter is made for infusions, concentrating and capturing flavours to last through the colder months. This one is like Christmas pudding in a glass.
My infused Christmas gin, brimming with all the warm, sweet flavours of the traditional pud, makes a delicious nightcap or digestif.
The renewed fashion for gin in recent years means many of us are looking for gin Christmas gifts, and this homemade liqueur is one that you can be sure won’t be duplicated.
Making homemade liqueurs is much easier than you might think. This one only needs about three – four days to infuse, so even if you are running out of time to find the perfect present, you may have found it here.
Why make Christmas gin
- A delicious alternative to sloe gin and other liqueurs
- An unusual after dinner drink for Christmas parties
- Christmas pudding gin makes a great Christmas gift for gin lovers
- So easy to make and ready in 4 days so perfect for a last minute gift!
Christmas pudding gin ingredients
- Gin – I use a supermarket own brand. You don’t want one of those fancy botanical versions, as they are expensive and all the subtle flavours that make them expensive will be lost. You don’t want anything rough either. A dry London gin works well.
- Mixed Dried Fruit – I’ve used an equal weight of raisins, currants and apricots for some extra fruit flavour. You can use whatever you like most. Just make the weight up with your favourites, but have a good base of about 2/3 of dark vine fruit.
- Muscovado Sugar – This adds both colour and a lovely treacly caramel note. You can also use dark brown soft sugar. A lighter sugar like golden caster will make a lighter gin in both colour and flavour.
- Orange – For the zest. Ideally an unwaxed fruit. For a lighter flavour, you can swap in lemon.
- Spices – I’ve added a mix of cinnamon, mixed spices, cloves and all spice. You can choose your own, and any warming spices would be delicious. I don’t like too much spice, and don’t want to mask the fruit. If heavy spice is your thing, then go wild.
How to make Christmas gin – step by step
Before you start, read my step-by-step instructions, with photos, hints and tips so you can make this perfectly every time.
Scroll down for the recipe card with quantities and more tips at the bottom of the page.
Step One – Use a vegetable peeler to pare some thin strips of orange zest. As you do this, take care not to get the bitter white pith. There is no need for fine grating big pieces are absolutely fine.
Step Two – Cut larger pieces and whole fruit like apricots or figs to the same size as a large raisin. Then add all the fruit to a wide-necked jar that is large enough to take all the ingredients. Add the sugar, spices and orange zest.
Step Three – Pour over the gin, seal and then give it a swirl. Swirl the jar rather than shake it, because you want to avoid any leaks. Leave for three days to a week, so that your Christmas gin has time to infuse.
Step Four – When the gin is ready, the fruit will be plump, the sugar dissolved and the gin a rich deep brown colour. A sediment will have formed at the bottom of the jar. Taste the gin. At this stage, you can rebalance the flavours if necessary, by adding a little extra sugar, fruit or spice and leaving for a couple of days longer.
Step Five – Strain the gin through a sieve into a jug. Discard the peel and spices but don’t throw the fruit away. Save it in a jar or tub in the fridge to add to mince pies or other recipes.
Step Six – You can now filter your gin. This is not strictly necessary, but it will look prettier and it will be crystal clear and I prefer to do this if I give liqueurs as a gift.
Helen’s Fuss Free Tip
While you don’t have to filter your Christmas gin, I think the results are well worth it. The easiest way is to use a sieve lined with kitchen paper. If you plan to make lots of liqueurs, then it is worth investing in an inexpensive filter coffee cone and filters.
If you have a fancy one for your regular coffee making, then use that. Be warned, however, that filtering starts fast and then slows down to a slow drip, drip, drip and can take hours. This is best done overnight or after your last mug of coffee of the day!
Step Seven – Although you can keep your gin in a jar, it will pour better from a bottle. You will definitely want to decant your Christmas pudding gin into pretty bottles if it is a Christmas gift. These need to be clean and dry, but you don’t really need to sterilise them unless you want to.
If you like, you can add the cinnamon stick to the bottle along with a fresh twist of orange zest, and even a pinch of edible gold leaf.
- I like to sip my Christmas liqueurs from a shot glass. If you prefer, you can serve over ice or add to mixed drinks.
- Drizzle over ice cream.
- Whisk into double cream for a boozy trifle topping.
- Vary the dried fruit – For the best Christmas pudding flavour, keep a base of about half to two thirds dark vine fruit (currants and raisins) and then make up the rest with apricots, dried figs, dates, cherries, mixed peel, or any combination to taste. Cut larger pieces of fruit into smaller pieces, about the size of a raisin.
- Sugar – Different sugars have different flavours, so take this into account. Because the dried fruit already adds lots of sweetness, you should not be tempted to over do it. Soft dark brown or muscavado sugar adds notes of treacle and caramel, while a lighter sugar would pair well with lighter fruits.
- Spices – Add more, or less to taste. Remember that not all brands are the same, and that fresher jars of spice will have far more flavour than older ones. Because of this, err on the side of caution. It is best to add less and then if you feel it needs a little more, adjust and leave to infuse for a bit longer.
- If you want your gin Christmas gifts to look really fancy, you can crumble in a pinch of culinary gold leaf when you bottle your gin.
As with other liqueurs, store this in a cool dark cupboard. It is best consumed within a year, because the flavours can start to fade if you keep it longer.
Hints and tips
- Instead of wasting the infused fruit, you can add it to all sorts of dishes. Eat it on ice cream, in mince pies, or use it instead of mincemeat in this Christmas fudge recipe. Alternatively, add it to a fruit tea loaf.
- Use a reasonable gin, but not something really fancy. A mid range supermarket own brand dry London gin is perfect here.
- If you are experimenting with the recipe write down what you did, it is really annoying to make the perfect infusion and not remember the recipe!
It really is as easy as it sounds. Try it!
Nothing too herbal. You can often find clementine or orange flavoured tonic waters at Christmas and these would work well, or ginger beer.
Yes. You can buy a small pot of culinary gold leaf to add, and it will look just like the fancy versions from the shops. You can use it to decorate homemade chocolates too. It’s perfect safe to consume the gold.
No. If you keep everything in proportion, it will work just fine.
More homemade liqueurs and infusions
- Rhubarb and ginger gin – pretty pink and so so delicious.
- Sloe Gin – this British classic is so much better when homemade.
- Toffee Vodka – this popular flavoured vodka uses just two ingredients and is so easy to make at home.
- Christmas Vodka – rich spiced vine fruits and ready in less than a week!
- Cranberry Gin – Jewel coloured cranberry and orange gin – perfect for Christmas sipping!
- Bramble Whisky – packed with blackberries and sloes, this is an ultimate winter warmer.
Christmas Pudding Gin
- zest of half an orange
- 150 g dried fruit
- 40 g muscovado sugar
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 3 cloves
- 3 all spice berries
- 1 tsp ground mixed spice
- 350 ml gin
- Use a vegetable peeler to pare strips of orange zest. As you do this, take care not to get the bitter white pith.zest of half an orange
- Cut whole fruit like apricots and figs to the same size as a large raisin. Add all the fruit to a wide-necked jar. Add the sugar, spices and orange zest.150 g dried fruit, 40 g muscovado sugar, 1 inch cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 3 all spice berries
- Pour in the gin, seal and swirl the jar to mix. Leave for three days to a week, so that your Christmas gin has time to infuse.350 ml gin
- When the gin is ready, the fruit will be plump, the sugar dissolved and the gin a rich deep brown colour. A sediment will have formed at the bottom of the jar.
- Strain the gin through a sieve into a jug. Save the fruit to use in other recipes.
- (Optional) Filter the gin through a coffee filter or a kitchen paper lined sieve, for a crystal clear spirit. This takes a good few hours, and is best left overnight.
- Bottle and seal, ready to drink.
- Use a mid range gin, nothing too grand, but not the cheapest. Supermarket own brand London gin is perfect.
- Vary the dried fruit – apricots, figs, and cherries are all delicious, but keep half to two thirds dark vine fruit as a base.
- Vary the sugars to change the flavour. I like a good fully flavoured muscovado sugar.
- Swap in some different spices – but don’t go too wild and swamp the flavours.
- Filtering will take a good few hours – it is best left to drip through overnight.
- This recipe is 5 Weight Watcher Smart Points per portion