Beech Leaf Noyau is made when the young silken leaves first appear towards the end of April. We found ours in East Dean at a bus stop! The name is French for' Fruit Stone' liquer and was traditionally made from almonds and peach stones mixed with gin.
Pack the beech leaves (around a carrier bagful) into an earthenware or glass jar until it is about 9/10ths full. Pour the gin (500Ml) making sure the leaves are well covered. You will see that they oxidise and turn brown if left exposed. Leave for 7-10 days enough time for the leaves to release the green pigment. Strain the gin through a muslin or jelly bag and put 250ml of water in to a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Let this cool before adding to the infused gin. You can add a few capfuls of brandy too. If you miss the beech leaves in early spring you may get another chance in June after being trimmed they often sprout new shoots. Try it next year!