Homemade redcurrant gin - shown here with the infused currants in a strainer - Diversivore.com

Red Currant Gin

In Recipes by Sean17 Comments

Red currant gin in a mason jar, shown beside a mesh strainer filled with leftover currants
Redcurrant gin in a mason jar, shown beside a mesh strainer filled with leftover currants

Red Currant Gin

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Infuse your own gin with the distinctive sweet/tart taste of red currants. This simple process can be adapted to any quantities, and yields a wonderful finished product in about one month. It can also be easily adapted to black or white currants.

Infusing your own alcohol is possible the easiest and cheapest way to put a distinctive and personalized spin on your cocktail making. It’s so easy in fact, that I honestly wonder why it’s not a more common practice.

And yet, I should probably not get on too high a horse when it comes to avoiding ‘easy’ work.  Despite the fact that this recipe is both easy to make and fairly easy to write up, I’ve let it sit on the back burner for way, way too long.  I know that it’s been too long because I published the Clock Calm – a cocktail that actually uses this gin – nearly three years ago.  Needless to say, I owe you all a followup.

Now, let’s talk about why you should make this infusion in particular. After all, you could put any number of fruits into any number of alcohols.  I know I do – I’ve got multiple concoctions infusing and/or aging in glass jars. While many infusions start with a neutral base (e.g. vodka), I personally like working with gin because it’s not a neutral spirit.  The herbal components – and especially the juniper berry flavour that largely defines gin – make the drink complex and interesting.  You could mix plenty of different fruits with gin, but currants are probably my favourite because of the interesting versatility that they afford.  Red currants have a tart, distinctive flavour, but they’re not very sweet. Because of this, they’re frequently served with lots of added sugar (e.g. in jams, jellies, and desserts).  But if we forget about the sugar and just let the currants stand on their own, we find that the bright and acidic flavour works wonderfully with savoury dishes and herbs.  This dichotomy carries over to infused red currant gin, which works beautifully in both sweet and dry cocktails.  I tend to like my cocktails on the dryer side, but I’ve made my Clock Calm cocktail in both sweet and semi-sweet versions and the gin tends to steal the show no matter what.

I don’t think you’ll have a hard time finding ways to use this beautiful, ruby-red gin, but it’s worth mentioning that gin isn’t just for cocktails! Juniper berries and red currants are both wonderful accompaniments to a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes, so there are plenty of options to explore.  I recommend trying this gin in sauces or marinades for roasted meats, in preserves or fruit sauces, or in a wide variety of desserts (ice cream, cake, and soft mousses or curds would be my jumping off point).  The sky’s the limit when it comes to cocktail creativity, but if you’re hunting around for ideas try starting with drinks that call for sloe gin, then swap this infusion in instead. Do note that sloe gin is generally a little sweeter than this infusion however, so you may need to adjust your cocktails with simple syrup, etc. Enjoy, and cheers!

Red currants in a basket

Recipe Notes

There’s virtually nothing complicated about making this infused gin, but I will take a bit of time to discuss the ingredients (and variations), and a couple of tips to help you ensure that you get delicious and consistent results.  If you’ve got a question that you don’t see addressed here or in the recipe itself, let me know in the comments below!

Red currant gin in a labeled mason jar with two glasses

Type of GIn

I tend to take a middle-of-the-road approach when it comes to choosing alcohols for infusion.  I recommend staying away from the really cheap stuff, as there can often be harsh, imbalanced, or otherwise off-putting flavours.  It’s the same approach that I take to cooking with wine: if you can’t stand to drink it as-is, you probably shouldn’t bother with it.  That being said, it seems a bit of a shame to use a carefully crafted (and expensive) high-end gin made with delicate and nuanced botanical ingredients, given that you’re going to substantially change the flavour profile by infusing fruit.  Most of the big name brand gins should work fine, but it’s worth doing a bit of hunting to see if there are any good local gin makers in your area.  Gin has gone through a craft renaissance in recent years, and there are plenty of interesting (and often relatively inexpensive) regional gins coming out of distilleries all over the world.

Young jenever (jonge jenever) can also be used to make this infusion.  I would avoid using malty/woody/smoky old jenever (oude jenever) – unless, of course, that’s the flavour direction you want your infusion to be taking.

Red currant gin in a mason jar, topped with a strainer

Currant Variations

Red currants (aka redcurrants) aren’t the only currant out there, and they’re not the only currant you can use! Black currants, which are commonly used to make the French liqueur crème de cassis, are a great ingredient to infuse with gin.  The dark purple finished gin will share some of the sweet/tart profile of the red currant version, but with a distinct cassis flavour of its own.  White currants (which are actually a very pale cultivar of the red currant) are another lovely option.  White currants will generally yield a pale pink finished gin.  This gin may also be a little bit sweeter, as white currants tend to be a little sweeter than their red cousins.

While I haven’t tried it myself, I suspect that you’d be able to use gooseberries (a close relative of currants) to infuse gin as well.  I’ve seen gooseberries used to make vodka infusions, so there’s no reason to suspect any problems with gin.  Gooseberries do tend to have a bit more water in them, so you might get a slightly milder (lower alcohol) end product, but it should be a pretty minimal difference.  Jostaberries, which are a hybrid between black currants and gooseberries, would also work nicely if you can find them.

Clarity & Consistency

I like to take a fairly lazy, laid-back, hands-off approach to making my infusions by leaving the infusion in a cool, dark spot for a month or more.  The booze equivalent of set it and forget it, if you will.  I do give it the occasional shake (especially in the first few days), but I’m not worried about a schedule or anything.  You can speed the process up a bit by shaking the jar regularly, but I still recommend leaving it for at least 3 weeks to fully infuse.

Once your red currant gin is ready to finish off, you want to pour it through a strainer to get out the berries, followed by a very fine mesh or sieve.  This fine mesh (like the one shown in the pictures above and below) will filter out all of the little bits and pieces, leaving a nice clear finished product.  I tend to pour mine through twice in order to get a nicerr looking end product.  Note that the solids tend to build up a bit in the strainer as you pour, so you may want to scoop them out as you work.

If you don’t have mesh strainers, you can pour your gin through a several layers of cheesecloth instead.  I recommend soaking the cheesecloth in plain gin, then pouring the red currant gin through.  This will help keep your infused gin from soaking into the cloth.  You can also squeeze the cheesecloth to get the absorbed gin out, but this tends to make your gin cloudy thanks to the tiny solids that get squeezed through as well.

If you’re concerned that your gin still isn’t quite clear enough for your tastes, let it stand for a few days to allow any solids to settle in the jar, then carefully pour of the clear gin from the top.

It’s worth noting that this is a purely cosmetic issue; fine sediment shouldn’t impact the taste of your gin substantially.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that currants and gooseberries are quite high in pectin (the complex polysaccharide that helps to set jams and jellies).  Because of this, you may notice that your gin might have a slightly ‘syrupy’ appearance (i.e. it’s a little thicker and less watery than plain gin).  This is perfectly normal.

Red currant gin in a mason jar, topped with a strainer

Note: Nutritional Information is given for a 30 ml (1 ounce) portion (1/8th of the total recipe).

Nutrition Facts
Red Currant Gin
Amount Per Serving
Calories 76 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 1mg0%
Potassium 34mg1%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Vitamin C 5mg6%
Calcium 4mg0%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

GOOD NEWS:
I doubt anyone is too concerned about the nutritional profile of gin. But hey, the currants give it more vitamins than plain gin I suppose.

BAD NEWS:
It’s alcohol – so it’s basically just empty calories. No surprises there.

Ingredient Pages

No ingredient pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

Pantry Pages

No pantry pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

  • Vegan
  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten free
Homemade redcurrant gin - shown here with the infused currants in a strainer - Diversivore.com
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4.9 from 19 votes

Red Currant Gin

This colourful and delightful fruit-infused gin is easy to make and wonderful for shaking up (or stirring up?) your cocktail game. Black or white currants can easily be used instead of red.
Prep Time5 mins
Infusing Time30 d
Total Time30 d
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: British, European, Miscellaneous
Keyword: craft cocktails, currants, infused gin
Servings: 8 ounces
Calories: 76kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gin
  • 3.5 oz red currants (~1/2 cup, slightly mounded)

Instructions

  • Combine gin and red currants in a mason jar or other tightly sealing container.
  • Use a spoon to gently mash the currants a little to help them release some juice, then set aside to infuse for 1 month, shaking every few days.
  • When the gin is ready to use, strain out the solids. You may want to gently press against the leftover currants in order to extract all of the liquid. Pour the finished gin through a strainer. I like to use a coarse strainer, followed by a very fine strainer in order to get a clearer final product.
    Store the gin in a mason jar or sealed bottle and use as you would any other gin.

Notes

Note: the ingredients given yield a relatively small batch of gin (1 cup/250 ml).  You can simply scale the ingredients up proportionally if you want to make bigger batches.
You can use black or white currants in place of red.

Nutrition

Calories: 76kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 34mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg

Use Your New Gin to Make This!

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Clock Calm (red currant gin and tonic) in a tumblr with homemade maraschino cherries

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Oh, I love gin, especially during the summer months, and this will make for such a fun twist on cocktails. And that color is stunning!

  2. 5 stars
    Wow – this infused gin looks absolutely gorgeous! I’m going to have to scour my farmer’s market (the only place I ever see currants) and try this soon.

  3. 5 stars
    I am so glad I tried this recipe… it is such a special infusion, and one I’m glad I will have around. Thank you for this great and simple recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    I’m lucky to have a red currant bush and I’m always looking for new ways to use them. This infused gin is perfect, & I love the gorgeous colour. Although I have made cocktails with the berries, I usually make a simple syrup. Now I’m excited to try infusing alcohol. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  5. 5 stars
    My mouth is watering as I make Negronis with this gin infusion. So delicious and adds beautiful color.

  6. 5 stars
    I love experimenting with new flavours and this red currant cocktail looks perfect! The colour of it is soo pretty and eye-catching. I can’t wait to try this!

  7. 5 stars
    I’m so impressed by this! Love this idea and so perfect for the season. I bet it’s really delicious!

    1. 5 stars
      So fun and so simple. I love the Clock Calm cocktail, great way to use this tart aromatic spirit! Thanks.

  8. 5 stars
    Oh, I LOVE red currant, but it so hard to find it at our local food stores… Need to plant it in our backyard, so I can enjoy it in the Summer!

  9. 5 stars
    I love infusing spirits, but I’ve never tried to do it with red currants! What a fun, bright, and delicious gin infusion! Can’t wait to have this ready for drinks next month!!

  10. 5 stars
    What a fabulous idea! My hubby LOVES red currants – they hold a special childhood memory of a Hungarian grandmother who would serve red currants sprinkled with powdered sugar. He would get a kick out of a ‘grown-up’ red currant recipe. Can’t wait to try!!

    1. 5 stars
      Can you use soaked red currants afterwards? I’m wondering if they would work in a fruit cake?

      1. Author

        I would imagine that they’d have given up a good amount of flavour (but then, they’d also gain some boozy flavour that might be nice in a fruit cake). I see no reason that you couldn’t use them, though I would try a few first to see if they’ve got enough flavour left to make it worth your while. Also, you may find them a bit seedy, but that’s always an issue with currants.

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