HOME-MADE SLOE GIN
My recipe for Sloe Gin is in the link at the bottom of this little preamble..
I’d heard a lot about Sloe Gin over the years – ‘ A slow comfortable screw’ was a popular cocktail back in my day – It consisted of Sloe Gin, Southern Comfort, Vodka and orange juice, if memory serves.. I was more of a Harvey Wall-Banger girl myself 😉
What I never knew was that I could make Sloe Gin myself, with very little other than a bottle of Gin, some sloes (the berry of the Blackthorne bush), some sugar and spices.
My friend Julie had a plentiful supply of sloes on her farm, and she and I spent a chatty 20 minutes or so picking the plentiful berries ; I Googled ‘how to make sloe gin’ (so you don’t have to); I had a bottle of Gin and a kilner jar – I was ready to rock.
One point, which I didn’t realise, was that you have to have the right kind of berries – I have a beautiful Hawthorne tree in my back garden; glorious with blossom in springtime, and covered in red berries for the birds in autumn . These are NOT the right kind of berry!
Sloe berries are large and black and look rather like very fat blackcurrants. Make sure you get the right kind ..
My nephew-in-law Richard, an expert in all things Sloe related, suggested the spices, which consisted of the thinly peeled rind of an orange, some Star Anise, Cinnamon sticks and whole Cloves. Add about 100g of caster sugar, a regular sized bottle of gin (as good a quality as you can afford) and mix it in.
Sloe berries are extremely bitter (don’t even try it) so make sure you have added enough sugar. The more sugar you add, the more alcoholic it becomes – just sayin’…
Seal the jar and leave it in a cool dark place, turning every couple of days (or being realistic – whenever you remember). Each time I open that particular cupboard I give it all a shake, rather than setting myself an impossible task in the run-up to Christmas..
It can take about 3-4 months before it’s ready; although I tend to start it off in late September or early October, and it’s always ready for Christmas, so if you want to give some away, follow my recipe below.
I strain it carefully (having done some quality assurance testing, naturally) through either paper coffee filters, or, more recently, through some muslin and bottle it as you see below. As I said, the berries are extremely bitter, so there’s really nothing you can do with them apart from discarding them after use.
I use my sloe gin to add a different flavour and lovely rose colour to Prosecco; my friend Alison pours it over ice-cream, and it tastes awfully good just by itself – just remember that it’s undiluted Gin, so be careful! I’d love to hear suggestions for other uses if you have some..
You might also like to try my Rhubarb Gin, which of course is a Spring/Summer baby!