How to make sloe gin

Sloe gin is one of my favourite winter tipples, it has such a sweet taste and a fantastic deep pink colour when the liqueur is made. To make your own sloe gin in time to enjoy during the winter you need to start early! I know we are quite a few weeks away from Christmas but to get Sloe gin to be ready in time for then you need to start now. Making sloe gin requires patience and time so the flavours mix and to allow the drink to reach perfection. I’m hoping to use the homemade sloe gin as small gifts for friends and family, it’s a great excuse to search for some pretty bottles and create handmade labels using my stamps.

Mr C and I went foraging for sloe berries during the middle of September on a walk in the countryside so hopefully there may still be berries around that you can pick now. You need to look out for berries on the blackthorn tree, they tend to grow in hedgerows. When you get home from picking your sloes I’d recommend putting them in a freezer bag in the freezer until you have all the things you need to make your own sloe gin. They say that you should pick sloes after the first frost but the freezer does a great job instead.

Here’s what you need, the measurements are approximate…
300g of sloe berries
150g caster sugar
500ml of gin
The first step is to buy some nice gin. I love this bottle…we bought a litre and divided the gin in half adding the rest to a spare bottle.
We picked around 600g of sloes as we are planning to make a large quantity of sloe gin so that we can give away some small bottles as gifts.
Making sloe gin is so simple…defrost the sloes, then wash and remove the stems…
Add the sloes to the gin…
then add the caster sugar to the gin…
Firmly replace the lid of the gin bottle and lay flat. You’ll need to turn and/or shake the gin every day for the first three days, and then twice a week going forwards for a few months.
If you have other berries that you have picked such as blackberries or elderberries you can use a similar method to create some lovely liqueurs. We collected elderberries to make elderberry vodka and blackberries to make blackberry vodka. To make these drinks just stick to a similar set of proportions….whatever volume of vodka you want to create you need to have a third of the bottle filled with berries, then half the amount of sugar to the weight of the berries.
I hope you enjoy making your own sloe gin. I can’t wait to see how this sloe gin tastes, it does involve a lot of patience but it is always worth the wait!

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