The trees are coming into leaf so it’s time to make beech leaf noyau, a delicious but largely unknown country liqueur based on gin. Beech noyau is very similar to sloe gin in that it’s an infusion of gin with added sugar but instead of using fruit, this uses young beech leaves. Pick them now while they’re still soft then put them in a jar with gin to soak.
Here’s the recipe I’ve been using for a few years now. See you in 3 weeks for the next stage.
A noyau is a cordial made from brandy, gin, cognac etc. This, however, is a classic British version, using young beech leaves.
1 bottle of gin (700ml)
225g white sugar
400ml young beech leaves
Only use very young beech leaves, freshly stripped from the stem. Add these to a bottle or glass jar (with a secure lid) until the vessel is half full. Add the bottle of gin then stopper the jar and store for 3 weeks before straining the alcohol off.
Meanwhile add the sugar and 300ml water to a pan and bring to a boil. Take off the heat and allow to cool before mixing with the flavoured gin and the brandy. Pour into bottles and store.