A Sloe Gin recipe taken from all the best recipe’s that I have researched on the web, and there’s a few out there! Sloes are the fruit of blackthorn and are actually a wild type of plum. The flavour of the fruit is bitter, so the small plums are not suitable for eating. The bitter flavour is lost when making Sloe gin
[plain]Prick your sloes, about 450g, with a needle or freeze them and bash with a heavy weight. Tip them into sterilised bottles, the fruit coming a third of the way up. Divide 350g of caster or granulated sugar among them then top up with gin or vodka. It will take about 750ml. Little point in using an expensive brand, by the way. Place the sealed bottles somewhere cool and dark. Leave for 8-10 weeks, turning the bottle occasionally, giving it a shake every week.[/plain]
How to Make
Traditionally, you’re supposed to prick each sloe with a thorn from the Blackthorn bush itself to prepare your sloes. However there are two accepted methods to get the little berries ready…
- Wash and remove any stems or leaves and freeze your sloes after picking for a few days, this in theory will simulate the ‘first frosts’ which is the optimum time for harvesting and also mellows the extremely bitter taste of the sloe. Freezing also makes the juice in the fruit expand and burst the cell walls. Some recipe’s also suggest taking a rolling pin to the frozen sloes and breaking them up a little.
The other method is to prick your sloes after picking and washing them, use a needle or maybe several needles stuck in to a cork to save time.
After you have chosen your method, the next step is the same. I use inexpensive glass kiln jars, make sure you sterilize them by washing them in soapy water, rinse then place in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes at about 150C.
Once the jars have cooled and the sloes pricked, (do this bit while the jars are in the oven) it’s time to add all the ingredients. Place a layer of sloes covering the bottom of the jar and about two deep, then add a layer of sugar and repeat until you have used the amounts in the recipe above. Lastly add the gin, then close the lid tight and shake. Store in a cool dark place, returning to them twice a day to shake until all the sugar has dissolved. This could take up to two weeks to dissolve fully. Then you only need to shake them once a week.
After about eight weeks, strain/decanter the gin using a muslim cloth. If your clever about this get two lots going at the same time, one jar for Christmas and the other for the following year, the longer you leave it the better it will be! You should still strain and decant next years at the same time as this year’s however… Enjoy!