Quince is a strange-looking fruit resembling large lumpy golden-skinned pears. They are a member of the same family as apples and pears. Ripening in autumn to a bright cheerful yellow, they are nonetheless quite hard and astringent unless bletted (softened) by frost ~ and even then.
Often baked in a quince tart, or combined with other fruits to make a jam or jelly where their high pectin content and unusual flavour comes in useful, they are just as good infused in gin with their distinctive aroma making a unique flavoured spirit.
The quince is grown widely throughout the northern hemisphere in the temperate zones, often in the margins of woodland, growing up to 8m tall. Hardy and drought-tolerant it produces beautiful pink flowers in spring. It should not be confused with its cousin the Chinese quince.
Fruit-infused gins are so easy to make. Once you get started, and you have created your first gin, you will start looking around your kitchen wondering what else you can infuse in gin.
No special equipment is required. All you will need you already have in your kitchen, with maybe the exception of mason jars. I get mine from bargain homeware stores where you can pick up the medium-sized jars for very little.
How to Make Quince Infused Gin
- 700ml gin
- 2 cleaned and chopped quinces, removing the core, seeds and any damaged parts
- Sugar to taste ~ granulated is fine
- Sterilise a medium-sized mason jar or similar by washing thoroughly in hot soapy water and drying in a low oven.
- Place the quince pieces and gin in the clean jar.
- Seal and steep for about 5 to 6 weeks, or longer if preferred. Your gin will darken the longer it is left. For a light golden gin remove the quince after a few weeks. For a darker golden gin leave for longer or even a few months.
- Every few days give it a little jiggle.
- After 5 to 6 weeks test your gin.
- When you are satisfied with the flavour, strain through a sieve lined with a muslin cloth.
- Add sugar if required, to taste. You might need to give it a good swirl. Granulate sugar takes a little while to dissolve in liquids without heat.
- Sterilise a bottle in the same way you sterilised the jar.
- Pour your quince infused gin into a sterilised bottle.
- Get making cocktails!
For simplicity itself pair the quince infused gin with rose lemonade, a pairing that works surprisingly well given the floral flavours of each.