How I bottled Spring

Noyau

THE COLOUR is a shimmering greeny-gold, the aroma is like that of a damp morning and the taste is nutty, warm and smooth.

I think I have just bottled Spring!

A couple of months ago, you may recall, I picked young, fresh leaves from a beech tree overhanging my garden to make noyau, the French liqueur. I posted then because there was only a short period when the leaves are at their best.

I promised to let you know how I got on. The answer is splendidly!

To recap, I picked and washed enough leaves to almost fill a one litre jar and poured over a full bottle of gin, making sure the leaves were submerged, then left it in the dark to infuse. As you can read herehttps://www.facebook.com/134017336759551/posts/1832493040245297/

Some weeks later the leaves at the top had turned brown – not really a problem but it explains why recipes call for them to be ‘tightly packed – but those at the bottom were still bright.

Leaves in the Kilner jar

The colour as I strained the gin off was brilliant green ( it looks darker in the picture as I photographed it after adding brandy ) but I wouldn’t want to drink it ‘neat’ as the taste was rather harsh.

This was solved by adding a strong sugar solution, 150g of caster sugar in 200mls of water. It was a lot better! But, of course, the alcohol has been diluted ( the gin was 37.5 ABV ) so 125ml of brandy brought it back up and added pep and smoothness.

It’s a really pleasing drink, ready to drink now but will, they say, improve over time.

I can see this being a regular nightcap, bringing back memories of spring. Now I wonder what other leaves I can turn into a tipple . . .

Noyau – a glorious colour

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