Making Sloe Gin


You will find recipes for sloe gin in old winemaking books. Most of them involve collecting sloes and pricking them all over before immersing them in gin. This sounds easy, but when you try it, it's like hard labour. Anyway, my basic recipe is a lot easier:

1) 1 pound sloes
2) 1 pint gin
3) half a pound or sugar, brown or white

So... Pick your sloes, and ensure that they are ripe. I have given the basic recipe above per pint of gin, because it's not cheap; you can increase the amounts in proportion. Put the sloes, freshly-picked, in one pound packs in the freezer, and leave them there for several days, until they are frozen solid. If you look at them at this point, you will see that they have burst, and this is exactly what you want.

Take them from the freezer, loosened so they are not sticking together, and put them into a large jar or bottle into which you will also put the gin and the sugar. Make sure that the bottle you use for this is large enough; it's very annoying to put two ingredients in and then find that the third can't be added. If you're making a large quantity, a winemaking demijohn may be suitable. You can also add some almonds for extra flavour if you wish; you need about a sixth of an ounce for each pint of gin, and they should be chopped. You can also add a couple of cloves if for each pint of gin.

The container in which you are making the sloe gin needs to be shaken every day for about a month, then occasionally for another month; then it can be strained and bottled. A related drink, blackberry gin, is equally good and well worth making. Quantities and method as above.

Nigel Deacon, Diversity website

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