Make your own crab apple gin liqueur

Our Shropshire Master Composter project coordinator Rachel Phillips-Street shares one of her favourite homemade gifts
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Make your own delicious drink to share this winter

When she’s not composting at home or supporting community composters, Rachel Phillips-Street loves to grow her own veg and fruit for recipes and gifts.

“This year I’ve made gins, wine, chutneys and ‘cheese’ from garden fruits and vegetables, as well as beeswax wraps and lavender sleep balm,” says Rachel, who promotes home composting at events and in schools as part of her role at Garden Organic. “It’s been quite a production line this Christmas!”

This year, Rachel also foraged for crab apples, so she was keen to try out a couple of recipes.

“A crab apple ‘cheese’ is lovely with crackers and a nice glass of port at Christmas,” she says. “I like the one from Roger Phillips food for free book, but this year I also tried my hand at making gin liqueur!”

Crab apples will ripen from September to early November and can be picked or foraged right up until December in mild winters. If you collected them early, use stored or frozen crab apples for sloe gin and fruit liqueurs as they have a lovely apple flavour and imbue a golden colour.

Rachel’s Crab Apple Gin Liqueur


  • 20-30 crab apples, washed and halved
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 bottle gin


  1. Wash and halve enough crab apples to half fill a Kilner jar.
  2. Pop in the cinnamon stick, cover with sugar and add a bottle of gin.
  3. Leave to steep, giving it a shake every day for the first week to help the sugar dissolve, then every other week after this. It’s drinkable after a couple of months, but the longer you leave it the thicker, more syrupy and more potent it becomes!
  4. Strain through muslin cloth and decant into a bottle.
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Rachel Phillips-Street coordinates Master Composters and helps support volunteers