It is 1 September and officially Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. And even though there is still a nip in the air, the days are getting longer and summer with its abundance of outdoor eating, stone fruit, berries and long sunny days beckons.
And I can’t think of a better time to share this fantastic Gin and Tonic Jelly recipe given to me by my good friend Roger Jorgensen. Roger is The Still Man at Jorgensen’s Distillery in Wellington, where he distils the fantastic Jorgensen’s Gin,which is the first South African made premium Gin. Spicy juniper, wild harvested in the Tuscan hills, are the cornerstone of Jorgensen’s Gin. Earth notes come from angelica root, orris root, calamus root, rare african wild ginger, coriander, liquorice root and bitter apricot kernels. Ethereal top notes come from delicate touches of naartjie and Cape lemon peels, buchu, Grains of Paradise, rose geranium and perfumed Ohandua from Kaokoveld. The gin is hand crafted in tiny batches in a copper pot still. The botanicals for each batch are suspended in the still above the purest wine spirit to bathe in its vapours, giving the gin its delicacy and finesse.
There is fresh snow on the Western Cape mountains and I am sitting here with a hoodie pulled over my head, sipping some rooibos tea to keep warm but I am already dreaming of ending off a lazy outdoor summer’s lunch with this zesty and refreshing jelly. The recipe is easy to make and I made this batch with limes which gave it the beautiful pale green colour. I prefer to serve the jelly in individual glasses as you could add berries or even small chunks of stone fruit to the mix for extra pops of colour.
I made one small change to the recipe and that was to blitz the sugar and zest before adding to the water to let the sugar absorb the citrus oils. This is a trick I picked up from a David Lebovitz recipe and have done ever since.
- 300 ml water
- 300 g caster sugar
- 2 lemons or limes, zest & juice
- 400 ml tonic water (good quality, preferably Fitch & Leedes or FeverTree)
- 250 ml Jorgensen’s Gin
- 20 g powdered gelatine completely dissolved in 50 ml hot water, or one sheet leaf gelatine per 100ml liquid
- Simmer 300ml water and the sugar for 5 minutes, take off the heat, add the lemon or lime zest, and leave to steep for 15 minutes.
- Strain into a measuring jug to remove zest, then add the citrus juice, tonic water and gin; add more tonic water, gin or lemon juice to taste to 1,200ml.
- Prepare the gelatine.
- Pour some of the gin and lemon syrup mixture into the gelatine and then pour everything back into the jug.
- Pour into moulds or serving glasses and, when cold, put in the fridge to set over night.
- Unmould, and decorate with lychees, currants, berries etc.
- This jelly will keep indefinitely in the fridge (covered with cling wrap) as sugar, alcohol and gelatine all preserve well.
- Adapted from Roger Jorgensen