I’m not a big fan of overly sweet drinks. My tastes seem to run more towards the tart end of the taste spectrum and I love a cocktail that is discernably sour, though not mouth-puckeringly so. This variation on the classic gin fizz has a balanced flavour with just enough zing to be refreshing. You could make the juice with all currants or all gooseberries, though I prefer the combination. Look for gooseberries that are showing a nice red hue, which means they are riper and therefore less sour than all-green ones.
For the red currant juice
- 1/2 pint (approx. 150 g) fresh red currants
- 1/2 pint (approx. 150 g) fresh gooseberries
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) sugar (add up to 2 tablespoons/30 mL if you prefer things sweeter)
For the cocktail
- 2 ounces (60 mL) gin
- 2 ounces (60 mL) gooseberry-red currant syrup
- 2 ounces soda (60 mL) soda water
- Ice cubes and slices of lime
For the juice
- Remove stem and blossom ends from gooseberries with a sharp paring knife. Put gooseberries, red currants and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Pour the berries and water into a cheesecloth-lined sieve or colander elevated over a bowl. Allow to drip for 5 minutes. Do not squeeze or press down on the fruit too much while it is dripping as this will make the juice cloudy.
- While juice is dripping, wash the pot that you cooked the berries in.
- Return the juice to the clean pot along with the 1/3 cup (90 mL) sugar. Heat, stirring, just until sugar dissolves. Taste the juice and if it is too tart for your liking, add up to 2 tablespoons (30 mL) more sugar.
- Pour the finished juice into a clean glass jar. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Juice can be stored in the fridge for one week or frozen for up to a year. If freezing, make sure to leave at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) headspace at the top of the jar.
For one cocktail
- Fill a cocktail shaker (or clean 500 mL/2 cup glass jar with a tight lid) with ice. Add gin and fruit syrup.
- Cover and shake for 1 minute to thoroughly blend and chill the drink.
- Strain into a glass, top with soda water and garnish with a slice of lime. Add ice if desired.