Sloe Gin

This entry is filed under Drinks.


Sloe berries, those tiny dark blue berries you see dotted around in the hedgerow start making an appearance towards the end of summer but they aren’t ready for picking until after the first hard frost which is usually sometime in November.

sloes-1The chances are if you wait that long some hedgerow forager will have been and stripped all those thorny sloe branches bare. So my advice is get out there now and get picking!

You can tell sloes by the smallness of the berries which grow almost on the branch without any stalk to speak of. if in doubt try biting into one. I guarantee your lips will pucker up as if you’ve sucked on a lemon!

frozen-sloesTo get round the frost problem, treat the sloes to a fake frosting by sticking them in the freezer for 24 hours. It works a dream and they look so pretty with a dusting of ice particles twinkling on their skins .


hairbrushThere is a boring bit where you have to prick the sloes all over with a pin or fork which takes forever, so to get round this I prick them with a spiky hair brush. Cat/dog spiky metal brushes are equally effective, but be sure to wash them thoroughly first!!!!

sloe-gin-bottled-with-sugarThen all you do is layer the sloes with sugar and cover with gin right to the rim of the bottle. What could be simpler?

Once you’ve made up bottles of sloe gin, shake well until the sugar has dissolved, then store away in a dark cupboard for several months and forget about them. N.B: the longer you leave sloe gin the better as both the flavour and smoothness improves dramatically over time.

sloe-gin-bottled-1If you have a large rumtopf or several 1 ltr kilner or parfait jars so much the better, failing that you can always use empty spirit bottles as I’ve done here (whisky, gin vodka all work) however it’s worth mentioning that pushing the sloes through the bottle neck is a bit of a fag so do it when you’re not in a hurry.

Sloe Gin Recipe

Makes: 3 litres

1 kg sloes
2 x 75cl bottles London dry gin
450g sugar
almond essence (optional)

Kitchen scales
Measuring jug   

Here’s What You Do:
Wash sloes well and discard any bruised or rotten fruit then tip onto a tray and stick in the freezer for 24 hours.

Next, defrost the sloes then prick all over with a fork or needle and place in your chosen container.

Now add the sugar, I find a funnel works best, lastly pour in the gin right to the top and add a couple of drops of almond essence to each bottle if preferred but it’s not essential. Screw on the lid tightly then place in a dark cupboard for at least 3 months, but for best results leave for 12 months as the flavour improves dramatically over time.

When you’re ready strain the liquid (anywhere after 3 months but within a year) and decant into decorative bottles and give to friends and family as the perfect Christmas gift.

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