Sloe Gin has been a Christmas staple in our house since I can remember. My mum makes a batch every year, I think we may even have a bottle hidden in the back of our pantry which is as old as me! Luckily Sloe Gin, much like a fine wine just gets better with age.
The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn, a common hedge that blossoms a glorious white in spring but don’t let those blossoms fool you! The blackthorn has sharp ends and very spiky branches, which I found out to my cost this year, with an unfortunate incident that resulted in me falling into the blackthorn head first (I blame my overzealous Cocker Spaniel!) . However just remember that the delicious, warming sloe gin is your reward.
How to Make your Sloe Gin
Sterilise the bottle or jar that you are using (I normally pop mine in the dishwasher on the ‘intensive’ setting).
Once the bottle or jar has been sterilised add about 500g of the sloes (Prick with a fork), 250g of white sugar (the more sugar you use the quicker the flavour comes out but do bear in mind that this will of course make it sweeter) and then add your 1 litre of Gin.
Seal it and then store the fruits of your labour in a dark place for several months shaking every few days at first until the sugar has dissolved, then strain out the sloes through a piece of muslin, pop back into the bottle and store in a dark cupboard until you are ready to share with your friends and family.
You’ll be pleased to hear that even a sloe gin made in November can be drunk at Christmas and it is still absolutely scrumptious! However if you are after a more refined sloe gin (and have some restraint) leave this years harvest until next year, or even longer!