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Make Your Own Sloe Gin

March 2nd, 2008 · post by Fred Goodsell · 1 Comment

With the end of October rapidly approaching, and global-warming tipping an early-harvest in our favour, now is the time to leave the library and gather wild sloe for gin preparation.  Sloes are the small, damson-like fruits of the blackthorn tree, easily-identifiable by their bluish-black skins.  Whilst they’re far too tart to consume naturally, they’re perfect for flavouring sweetened gin into a deliciously potent liqueur.

To make one – 70cl – bottle of sloe gin you will require the following:

  •  An empty 1.5 litre preserving jar with secure lid
  •  700ml gin
  •  9 almonds (optional)
  •  400g wild ripe sloe berries
  •  200g granulated sugar
  •  An empty 70cl bottle with secure lid
  •  3-15 month’s patience

Don’t spend too much on the preserving jar, they’re dirt cheap in IKEA.  Also, don’t be tempted to skimp on the quality of the gin.  Try and use ‘export strength’ Tanqueray as a bare minimum and avoid using a brand with too many aromatics, such as Hendricks or Bombay Sapphire.  If you’re feeling flush, Plymouth Gin is a great base, but if you’re beyond skint, don’t waste time with Gordons, and go straight for the cheapest white label gin you can acquire.  If you’re going to include the almonds make sure you blanch them first (soak them in boiling water for no more than a minute, before drying and gently rubbing-off the skin).

Instead of pricking holes in the individual berries, freezing them overnight ruptures the skins quite easily, without the finger-work and subsequent staining.  Sandwich layers of sloe and sugar in the jar, before adding the almonds, and finally, the gin.  Fasten the jar tightly, and store in a cool, dark place, shaking it 2 or 3 times a week for the first 3 months.  If you’ve got the patience, leave it undisturbed for a further 6 months, before triple-filtering the gin (with muslin or filter paper) into an empty, sterile (rinse with boiling water before decanting) bottle.  Fasten the bottle securely and store for another 6 months (again if you’ve got the patience – your gin can be ready as early as Christmas, but will taste better if you leave it for the full 15 months – the gin will keep for up to 3 years).

Enjoy over ice and lemonade/tonic as a summer alternative to Pimms, or straight up as a delicious winter warmer!

→ 1 CommentThis entry belongs to the following categories: DIY Guides · Food

1 response so far

  • Jan Ellis posted:
    Oct 12, 2008 at 4:50 pm. Comment #1

    The summer drink sounds perfect.When my daughter has strained her sloe gin she then puts the sloes into a fairly sweet red wine, she says it’s really scrummy.