Sloe woes… and a sloe gin recipe
I’d be interested to hear if anyone else has managed to track down these precious hedgerow fruits this year? As far as I know you can’t buy them in shops; but that wouldn’t be quite the same anyway.
Just in case you’ve had better luck with your foraging, here’s my tried and tested sloe gin method. It’s not an exact science so you can add more sugar if you’d like it really sweet, or less sloes if you prefer a milder sloe flavour.
How to make sloe gin
Step 1- go and pick a load of sloes
In fairness you don’t have to pick loads, but if you only make a small amount it’ll be all gone before you know it and you’ll have to wait ages for the sloes to come out again! It all depends how many you can find really.
Step 2- prep your sloes
You want to make sure as much of the juiciness of the sloes infuses into your gin as possible. There are two ways to do this:
Pin method- poke each sloe with a pin to break the skin
Freezer method- pop all the sloes in the freezer overnight, then defrost them again
The freezer method is my preference since it’s the less labour intensive of the two.
Step 3- Mix it up
Put your three ingredients into wide-necked bottles or a demijohn. Add a split vanilla pod if you are feeling fancy, to give a smoother flavour. You could use a screw top wine bottle as long as you accept the fact that getting the sloes out again will be pretty fiddly!
Step 4- Leave to mature
Leave the gin to infuse for at least a month, but the longer the better really. It depends how long you can resist drinking it for! Give the mixture a shake every few days to help the process along.
Step 5- Bottle
Strain the gin through a sieve or muslin into sealable bottles. The gin will keep for ages and gets better with age as well. Sloe gin is great sipped by itself as a liqueur, but also works a treat in a champagne cocktail or with a splash of tonic.