Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A guide to making sloe gin

I've made sloe gin for the first time this year. We're abandoning the hell that is Christmas shopping in favour of homemade hampers. As well as sloe gin I'm doing flavoured oils, jam, biscuits and fudge!

The best time to pick sloes is after the first frosts. So I was unusually pleased when I had to scrape the ice off my car one late November morning. The next day I armed myself with a bag and headed to my local country park in search of blackthorn- the twiggy shrub that sloes grow on.

Sloes are easy to identify, their plump berries look like juicy purple grapes. Try to pick around 400g to make one 1litre of gin.

Wash your foraged sloes well and remove any twigs or leaves. Next, sterilise a needle by holding it over a flame and prick your berries all over. Place them in a large airtight jar.

Next add 225g of caster sugar.

Then pour over 1 litre of good quality gin. Secure the lid and shake well.

Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for at least two months. Once ready strain the sloe gin through muslin square and pour into a sterilised bottle. Serve your gin with ice, soda water or to make it even sweeter a splash of lemonade.

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