After sampling many different home brewed variations of sloe gin (usually while over at the shooting ground) I have finally put some time aside to make my own this year. I missed the optimal time in October to go sloe picking but this weekend I took the dog and went looking for the elusive little black/purple berry.
Once you find them, you start seeing them everywhere you look, hedgerows, by the roadside along the river bank. And this is where I found a little undiscovered bounty just this morning. Don't get me wrong, there were signs that other sloe pickers have been out and taken most of this years crop already. However, following the river along it's course with Holly our Cocker Spaniel upfront, she helped discover an untroden path through the brambles to a clump of Blackthorns over hanging the river, let the harvesting commence! Lucky I had a couple of (unused of course) doggy poo bags with me to fill up!
I got home and looked over a few websites for recipes, even though making sloe gin has to be one of the easiest things to make, I believe there's nothing like a good bit of research, taking the advice I think is best or seems most common. I stumbled upon and article in the Telegraph which put me onto a good website – www.sloe.biz well worth a read, they also have a decent forum too. However, I decided on this recipe by Nigel Slater:
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.