We usually start picking sloe berries about Sept/October so we have a good stash and are ready to start the process as early as possible.
There are just 3 simple ingredients:
500g ripe sloes
250g golden caster sugar
1 litre gin (cheap stuff is fine as you’re going to infuse with sloes)
And the instructions:
Pick your sloe berries as many as you can find on hedges on public walks. Then give them a good rince, I normally leave them to soak for a good half hour to make sure they are clean. Then drain them and dry in a tea towel. Then the bit that takes a bit of time is to prick each sloe berry, this releases the flavour. I usually use a sweetcorn iron or a cocktail stick. Put the sloes into a large jar with a lid, you might need more than one depending on size, you need size for approx 2 litre in total.
Add the sugar and gin, then seal the jar. Shake well and continue to shake about twice a week. Store the jar in a cool, dark place and leave for two months or longer.
Then the fun part, using a sieve with muslin strain the sloe infused gin and put into clean bottles. It’s ready to drink now but it gets better over time (up to about 1 year) so start early. It makes great Christmas presents or just enjoy it yourself!
It’s delicious especially at Christmas time either neat over ice or with a splash of tonic!
Top tip: don’t eat the sloes raw … so bitter! Well you only have to try it once to know!!