If you’re a fan of gin, you’ll have tasted juniper before. As the only compulsory botanical in the gin-distilling process, it will be a flavour you will be familiar with but may not be able to pick out of a line-up - it’s often muddled in with the likes of citrus peel, angelica and anise so can get lost in the mix. What we have here then, is an opportunity to isolate that fragrant spiciness through having combined it with sugar. As with the production of gin, we have included both the branches and berries to give a broader depth of flavour, which should allow you to make better decisions about where to use it in the kitchen.
You don’t have to stretch your ability too far with this one. Use a wedge of lemon or lime to moisten the rim of your G&T glass (before preparing your drink, not after!) and then run the rim through the this sugar. This is a classic way to garnish a cocktail and will compliment your aperitif beautifully. For a more meal-orientated serving suggestion, have a go at a simple curing process for salmon (it will work with other fish too but we reckon salmon or trout work best) or at part of a glaze for roasted root vegetables. Recipes for these are abundant on the internet and in many cookbooks - it is all down to your preferences and bravery as to which one you go for!
There are sometimes concerns surrounding the sustainability of picking wild juniper. We recognise this so before heading out to collect the small amount needed, we decided that we would ensure we planted common juniper trees (native to the UK) in areas that have seen a decline in recent years. In fact, for every branch tip that we neatly pruned off, we are planting one tree to more than make up for it. One landowner in The Lake District - an area with naturally occurring common juniper - was kind enough to let us prune the juniper in their hedgerow and we have since agreed to replant some of our new juniper trees on their land among other places. Our mission continues to be to ensure we have as little impact on the planet as we can, and this is one of the many ways we can ensure that.