Autumn is here! And with it come a wealth of free hedgerow foods and abundant old wives’ tales to guide you on your foraging! Having been indulging in Blackberry and Apple Pie and Brown Betty for weeks now the first frost has come and so blackberries are out (the devil’s claw has been upon them!) but it’s open season on the sloes!
Sloes have had some ups and downs over the past few years but it seems like a good year for them around here so get out and see what you can pick! This sloe gin is well worth the wait, I’ve just cracked open last year’s stash and, just like every year, I am reminded of just how good this stuff is and questioning why I don’t drink it year round!
Makes 1 bottle*
175g granulated sugar*
8 blanched almonds
1 pint gin*
– First step, freeze your sloes. Or spend 3 hours pricking each and every one of them with a small knife. Your choice.
– In a large jar or bottle with a wide neck (make sure it seals properly!) layer your frozen sloes and sugar so its nicely combined.
– Add the blanched almonds.
– Add the gin at room temperature. The shock of the gin on the frozen sloes will cause the skins to split, you may even hear them cracking like ice cubes!
– Put in a safe, cool place and then shake once a week for 6 months-the end of time. (Mum has a bottle she’s been working on for at least 5 years, its brilliant!)
– Strain the sloes and almonds from the gin leaving just the liquid. **
– Enjoy with ice and tonic, or as a bonfire night tipple straight from a hip flask! Warms you up a treat!
* As with all foraging expeditions your harvest varies. If you have come home with say 2kg of sloes (well done you!) then simply use half the amount of sugar to the weight of sloes (so 1kg) and when adding gin you want the sloe/sugar mix to come about halfway up the bottle leaving the rest of the room for gin.
As for gin, DO NOT go using Bombay Sapphire or the like in this recipe. It’s a waste! Lidl, Aldi and the like do perfectly acceptable gin at a good price especially when you are going to be adding so much fruit and sugar to it. There’s no need to break the bank!
** If you don’t want to waste the sloes you can go on to use them in Sloe and Apple Jelly by simply adding them to this recipe.