It's the perfect time of year to make sloe gin!
Serves: 28 single measures
Prep time: 20 min (plus optional freezing overnight)
Mature time: 1-3 months
Since Christmas is approaching, now is the time to get prepared and start picking your sloes ready to make sloe gin!
This sweet liqueur is the perfect homemade gift for Christmas or even as a nice treat for yourself to enjoy one evening, with some patience and following the process below you will end up with the perfect sloe gin.
What is sloe gin?
Sloe gin is a homegrown British favourite, made from a fruit called sloe which is grown on a blackthorn shrub. It is made by combining an existing gin with sugar and sloe berries giving you the perfect fruity berry flavour.
When should sloes be picked?
Early autumn is the perfect time to start picking berries for your Sloe Gin. At this time, they will be dark blue-purple in colour which indicates perfect ripeness, they will be easy to squash and some may have already fallen from the shrub.
It would be ideal to pick them after the first frost but if not this is easily solved - you can just pop them in the freezer the night before you intend on making the gin!
Picking your sloes as soon as possible also ensures maximum time for the gin to mature.
Where to find sloes?
When looking for sloes you will find them in a blackthorn shrub which is often found growing in hedgerows or fields.
Sloes look very similar to a wild plum but you can tell the difference by tasting them, sloes are very sharp and not usually eaten raw.
To ensure you are collecting the cleanest berries and leaving enough for wildlife, always pick from waist height upwards.
How to make Sloe Gin?
What you’ll need:
- A muslin cloth: Home Made Muslin Cloth
- An airtight jar: Home Made Glass 1.5 Litre Preserving Jar
- A sloe gin bottle: Home Made 500ml Sloe Gin Bottle
- An ice cube tray: Colourworks Purple Pop Out Flexible Ice Cube Tray
- Gin glass: BarCraft Set of Two Iridescent Gin Glasses
- Tumbler glass: Maxwell & Williams Verona Set of Four 270ml Tumblers
- 500g soles
- 250g caster sugar
- 70cl gin
Firstly, wash the sloes and remove any stems. Once clean, pop them into an airtight bag and freeze them overnight - unless picked immediately after the first frost!
Pop the frozen sloes into an airtight jar with the sugar and pour in the gin.
Store it in a cool and dark place. To help the flavours infuse, shake the jar every other day for the first week then only shake it once a week thereafter.
Leave the Sloe Gin to mature for 1 - 3 months. After the first month, it's best to give it a taste to see if you want to add any more sugar.
Once the Sloe Gin is to your liking, simply strain the liquid through a muslin cloth and pour it into a clean bottle.
Store your Sloe Gin in a cool, dark place. For maximum flavour, put in the fridge before serving.
Enjoy your Sloe Gin on a crisp winters day, neat with ice in a tumbler glass or give it as unique Christmas gift!