Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Smallholding Gin With A Middle East Connection.

Smallholding  Jeddah Gin.
Here's my latest attempt at brewing wine.  My Internet friend Cumbrian, who regular posts comments on this blog, gave me the following recipe:  Jeddah Gin.

Apparently it was devised by some British ex pats  who couldn't get a drink or ten.  It's dead easy to make and if you make it this week, you will have lots to drink at Christmas (can we still call it that?) time.  Also we made all the above for the princely sum of 8 Euros.  Which is about 6 quid.  If you go to one of the cheap German supermarkets, you will make it for even less.

Here goes:  JEDDAH GIN.

You will need:

A couple of Limes (optional).
12 Oranges.
12 Lemons.
3  KG of Potatoes.
5  KG Sugar.
10 Litres of Water.
1 tsp Yeast.


Wash (no nasty chemicals or weed-killers pesticides please!) and slice the fruit and veg.  Remember to leave the skins on.  Place them in your fermenting bin.  Dissolve the sugar in some of the water and add to the fruit.  Add the remainder of water and Yeast.  Cover it with a tea towel to prevent the fruit flies having a drink and to keep away any nasties.  Stir it occasionally and leave for 7 days.  Then leave it to settle for 3 days.  Now is the time to remove the solids and leave 2 more days.  Rack it until its clear, then bottle.  I bottled some today and of course I had to sample a glass (can a duck swim?) and it was rather "super and reminded me of old fashioned lemonade.

You will notice in the above picture.  That I try to recycle my old wine, whisky and vodka bottles.  One of the bottles (third from the right) was a bottle of Zubrowka Bison Grass Polish Vodka.  My friend Pat brought me a bottle of this over to Ireland last year.  It actually contains a long piece of grass.  This gives the vodka a really distinctive flavour.  Think you can get it in most supermarkets in the UK and Ireland..

Don't think it will be long before I crack open a bottle.  I'm not waiting until Christmas.  Anybody had a go at making one of those 7 day wine kits?  Are they any good?


  1. You are a brave man, Dave, making a wine where the main ingredient is potato. I tried potato wine once, and never again. Mine tasted of chips. In a bad way.

    I tried Bison Grass vodka when I went to Poland in 2005. It was lovely.

    I haven't tried a 7 day wine kit, though I used to buy wine kits for red wine in my early days of wine making. They were uniformly bland - which is why I stick to fruit wine making these days.

  2. Hi Ben,

    One of the followers of this blog, Cumbrian, sent me a few small bottles of his wine to try. One of them was Jeddah Gin. It reminds me of old fashioned lemonade or perhaps your Citrus wine? I was only reading your book the other day.

    My problem is the lack of patience on my part. My first attempt tastes just like the sample I was sent. Believe it or not you don't taste the potatoes. I remember reading about your potato wine. We have also made Mead and that seems to be clearing really well.

    Yes the Bison Grass vodka is excellent. You can get it in most UK and Irish supermarkets these days.

    I was looking at the Solomon Grundy wine kits on Home brew.ie. They seem really cheap and incredibly quick.

    I haven't left a comment on your blog for a while but I always read it. It's just that I know so very little about wine making.


  3. Bet that Jeddah gin goes down a treat when you're listening to Nashville Pussy and Deutschmark Bob and The Deficits in the evening, Dave.

    More than anything, it looks like stuff that will keep you warm during the upcoming gale-filled evenings/nights.

  4. Hi Pat, Yes it looks like the gin will be a success. Think Nashville Pussy are really good. Not quite sure about Deutschmark Bob and the Deficits yet.

    We have had two gales already this week. See the rain gods visited Warsaw yesterday. I may even watch the England-Poland match this afternoon.


  5. See Ireland got its pride back, Northern Ireland drawing with Portugal, and the Republic not messing about (in the 2nd half) with the Faroe Isles (sometimes awkward to beat away from home).

  6. Yes Pat. I thought Portugal would thrash Northern Ireland. Roy Carroll must have played a blinder?

    I thought the Republic/Faroe Isles could have been a bit of an upset with the bad weather and heavy pitch. The Germany victory the other night probably gave Ireland a reality check.

    Doesn't look good for the Scotland manager this morning.

  7. Looks fascinating, well worth giving it a go. Hope you like it

  8. Hi Ronnie,

    Thanks for looking at the blog. I have only just got into making real ale and wine. It really is fascinating and makes you feel great when you have made something yourself.

  9. Have you tried the Jeddah gin (in the picture) yet, Dave?

  10. Pleased to see it looking well, hope it comes out even better by Christmas.
    Never seen the Polish grass vodka, wonder if I can get some?

    Back home, weather its usual depressing damp self, boiler been fixed, we've got hot water and heating again.
    Raggy cat missing, hope it's waiting in the morning.

  11. You might find the Polish bison/grass vodka in your local supermarket, Cumbrian.

    It's called Zubrowka, and, as you'd guess, it's a pale green colour, usually with one piece of grass inside the bottle. There's also usually a Polish bison on the label.

    In Poland, a lot of people drink it with apple juice, which may be a useful tip.

  12. Thanks Pat, I'll have a look, but there's not much Polish stuff in our area despite the fact that there's a few Polish people.

    Can you get the grass to put in the vodka?

  13. Hi Pat, Yes I have tried the Jeddah gin. It reminds me of old fashioned (cloudy) lemonade. I opened the Zubrowka bottle on Wednesday and it gushed up my nose and the top was dented hitting the ceiling. Think we have invented 'smallholding rocket fuel'. Must have bottled it too soon. It's back in the Demi-john for a few weeks. It's not bubbling now. Could it have been a reaction with the vodka vapours in the Zubrowka bottle?

  14. Welcome back Cumbrian, Look forward to hearing about your latest holiday report. Made another batch of Jeddah Gin this week. It's got a wonderful smell to it. Hope Raggy cat turns up soon.

  15. Raggy cat waiting at door this morning. A bit thinner, don't know why, I leave 2 self-feeders of biccies in the greenhouse. Came in and sampled the fish from last night, milk and biccies, then jumped on Mrs lap and stayed there until I took it off so she could eat breakfast. Currently luxuriating in front of fire.

    I think you maybe bottled it too early as well, but at least it shows it's doing what it's supposede to do, I think it's going to be a great batch, a good smell's always a good indicator, an "off" smell hits you right away. It'll be OK in an air-locked dj, as long as you don't leave it with too much sediment for too long, just bottle when you're convinced it's stopped fermenting. Think I'm due a bottling session as well, 4 djs all looking well clear; strawberry, blueberry, cherry and apple.

    Nice to wake up to the smell of fresh bread this morning, the French baguettes are very nice, but don't keep well, apparently it's an insult in France to offer bread more than 4 hours old, but I like my own baked fairly heavy 50/50 wholemeal/white loaf, butter and home-made lemon curd.

    Dull and damp with no breeze this morning, not actually raining, but judging by the ponds in ususally dry fields, it's had more than its fair share of rain over the last few days.

  16. Really pleased to read that Raggy cat is waiting at Cumbrian Towers door this morning. Perhaps he's a bit thinner because he was pining for you both?

    Thanks for the reassurance with the Jeddah Gin Cumbrian. It's great to be able to get advice from people who know what they are doing.

    When would you say that we can start drinking it? We have had a glass (small one) of it this week and it tastes just like the 'mystery wine' you sent me.

    The strawberry wine sounds excellent. Don't suppose you would let me have the recipe (how many pounds of strawberries?) for that please Cumbrian?

    Home-made Balti curry today for tea.

    Dry at the moment. Not managing to weed the vegetable plot at the at all. Did you get good weather on your latest vacation?

    Thanks Cumbrian.

  17. Never heard of anybody putting grass in their own vodka, Cumbrian.

    The mythology about Zubrowka (pronounced 'Jubrowka')is that only the grass that the Polish bison graze on can be used in the drink.

    Having said this, Dave is very innovative, and may've tried putting grass in his own vodka. And I guess why not, but it's usually only one long blade of grass for each bottle.

  18. Strawberry

    3lb fresh strawberries
    2lb granulated sugar
    1 gallon water
    Juice of 1 lemon

    What type of strawberries should be used?
    Ideally you want to use whole strawberries as they bring out a fuller flavour to the wine. Ensure you use good quality strawberries, avoiding those which are over ripe or spoiled as they will affect the overall quality of the wine produced.

    How to make Homemade Strawberry Wine
    Sterilise all equipment before use.
    Place the strawberries in a primary fermenter such as a bucket and crush them with either a potato masher, wooden spoon or your hands.
    Cover the crushed fruit with the boiling water.
    Add the sugar, nutrients, citric acid and lemon juice to the bucket.
    Stir the mixture until all the sugar has dissolved.
    Lightly cover the bucket and allow to cool to room temperature (this may take a day).
    Stir the mixture daily for the next five days.
    Strain the fruit off and discard.
    Transfer the remaining liquid to a secondary fermenter such as a clean demijohn.
    If necessary top up using cold water to one gallon.
    Fix the demijohn with an airlock and allow to ferment.
    Rack after 30 days and again after an additional 30 days.
    Bottle the wine once clear.
    Allow to age for 6 months.
    For better results wait 1 year.

    This is how I got the recipe, it doesn't mention yeast, but I gave it a teaspoon anyway when it cooled down enough. The citric acid mentioned I guess is the lemon, that's all I used, sliced fine. The strawberries were Asda, somebody delivered a pallet to the wrong store and they were selling then last thing 10p a punnet; a couple of extra punnets a bit of sorting to weed out the bad bits you always seem to get on some strawberries then chopped on my board.
    At present it's been racked into the second dj, got a pale pink colour, I think it's going to turn out well.

    Jeddah Gin, or any drink, as far as I know, can be drunk as soon as fermentation finishes, it's not going to get any stronger, it's just that the wine will clear and the taste will mellow over time.
    I ocasionally find a bottle or two from a couple of years ago, it always seems very good, but sadly my labelling used to leave a lot to be desired, and my memory isn't as good as I thought, so I often don't know exactly what it is. I label them all now, even when it seems a bit of a chore.

    Raggy cat resumed its love affair with my armchair, looks really at home and happy.

    Weather in France a bit mixed, but no rain except the occasional shower, mostly blue skies with white fluffy clouds, warm enough to sit out on the decking to watch the bats and swallows at dusk with a glass of port and small cigar.

  19. You always have had a great sense of humour Pat. I laughed out loud when you said I may have tried putting grass in my vodka. Are we talking the grass you smoke or the grass I feed to the cattle? Ha,ha..

    You have got to be innovative when you're working off my smallholding budget Pat. I say :

    "make do and mend."

  20. Thanks for going to the all that trouble writing the strawberry wine recipe Cumbrian. It looks excellent.

    I bought 2 demi-john's today for the Jeddah gin. We also got a premium Northern Brown Better Brew kit. It's supposed to be 'Newky Brown.' Will need to purchase more demi-johns for the new Jeddah Gin and the Strawberry wine. Looks like we also have 3 fermentins bins on the go every week. Sampled a glass of the Jeddah gin today. It's very strong. Going to start drinking it tonight. Well we need the demijohn don't we?

    It must have been great drinking port, smoking a cigar and watching the bats on the decking in France?

  21. You can consider it as little bit taste effect on it but I'm using oasis 1 gallon water many years but there is no any side effects experienced yet.


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