Thursday, 26 November 2009

It's time....

to break out the sloe gin!

When we stayed with friends in England (before moving here) during Christmas and over winter, invariably we were offered either as an aperitif or a post-supper liqueur, some of their home made sloe was delicious...amber-red nectar, neither too sweet nor too sour and a completely different animal from the mass-produced variety...
So, when I saw these little black beauties lining the canal path in the autumn I returned quick-smart with my basket to make sure I could make plenty & store it away (with a housewifely glow) ready for winter...
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn bush and looks a bit like a very small plum or damson (you can use damsons if you can't get your hands on sloes..) It's so easy to make - the hardest part is negotiating the thorns (remember blackTHORN bush!) but once you have gathered your sloe harvest it's simple:
For a 750 ml bottle you need:
About 450g sloes (or damsons)
700 ml gin (any old gin will do as you will be adding sugar)
250g caster sugar
Handful of roasted almonds
First, pick your sloes - don't wash them! Prick each one with a skewer or similar (or put in the freezer overnight & the skins will split - you want the flavour and colour to be released);
Put the sloes into a clean jar, add the gin, sugar & almonds. Seal the jar and put in a dark place for 2 - 3 months, turning the jar when you remember to dissolve the sugar.
Strain the liquid, discard the sloes and check for sweetness - if it's not sweet enough for your taste add more and shake to dissolve. I strained it through muslin to make sure it was clear...
One word of warning, if you go down the skewer route, don't do as I did and wear a white top I couldn't replace..(the sloes are black and they colour the gin get the idea...)


  1. Oh Susie, I'm so pleasewd that you have given the recipe for sloe gin. Every year I think that I will make it but don't. My Grandmother always made it. Enjoy drinking it !! XXXX

  2. Hi Susie

    Are you considering exporting to Australia - if you are, I'll take a dozen! Leigh

  3. I'm guessing it would lose something if I left out the alcohol,lol.
    I remember picking raspberries for a job...thorns are not my friend!

  4. Hi Jackie - they are still around so you've got time to make some for Christmas...actually if you wait until after the first frost, you don't have to faff around pricking them, just pick and go! x

  5. Hi Leigh - we could get a quid pro quo thing going - I'll send you sloe gin & you can send me red frogs! Don't know if they sell the commercial variety there but it's worth getting if that's the only option! x

  6. Hi Ange - don't think it would be quite the same & foraging in the hedgerows definitely wouldn't be appealing if you did it as a full-time job, I can see that! x