Making Sloe and Hedgerow Gin

Autumn arrived and brought with it a questionable frost. Was it a real one or were we all just a little bit surprised by the sudden drop in temperature? Apart from being the time for pumpkin soup, squash in all its forms and stews galore it is also the time for sloe gin. There are some sloe purists who will not touch this lovely berry until a frost has been; there are those like me who pick them nice and early and speed nature up a bit. Either way if you’ve got sloes around you it would be rude not to make some sloe and hedgerow gin.
Picking sloes for sloe gin
When you go out to pick your sloes I must warn you that 1kg of sloes is a good couple of hours of work, scratched wrists, attack of the stinging nettles and excellent fun if you take a friend. I’m not making it sound very appealing but what you get at the end of all the work makes it so worthwhile. To make about a litre of gin you’ll need 1kg sloes, 1l good quality gin and between 300 and 400g sugar depending on how sweet you like it.
Freezing sloes for sloe gin

Sipsmith had a lovely Sloe Gin and Damson Vodka soirée back in September (both of which were rather delicious) and I was let in on a sneaky way to speed up your sloes. After you’ve picked them whack them in the freezer for a few days as this splits the skin. You can always get yourself a pin and prick each and every sloe a few times before adding the gin if you’d rather not freeze them. Whichever way you split the skin it is important in order to let the gin and sloes mingle.

Washing sloes and hedgerow berries for gin

I very much advise you wash your sloes before freezing otherwise you might end up with a few (used to be) living hedgerow beings in your finished gin. I’m not sure anybody would appreciate you pouring them a spider. Once washed, drain them and put into a container to freeze for a few days. 
I have two batches on the go currently; one is pure sloe and the other is mostly sloes but with some blackberries and rosehips thrown in; Hedgerow Gin as I like to call it. 

Adding gin to the sloes

After a few days in the freezer the sloes should be ready for the next bit. Get the sloes out of the container you used; the reason for this is that any additional insects that may have got their way through should be stuck to the bottom or sides of the container. Nice. Be somewhat cautious when removing the sloes as one false move could see them flying all over the kitchen and floor. 

Adding sugar to sloe gin
In your selected receptacle put your sloes, blackberries, rosehips, plums, raspberries or whatever else you’re using. Pour in the gin and add the sugar. I put 350g sugar into the pure sloe and 300g into the hedgerow. Put the lid on and give it a swirl or a shake every day for about a week until the sugar has dissolved. After this just shake it when you remember. 
There is potential for it to be ready to drink in as little as six weeks but I’ll leave mine until it starts getting dark at 4pm, the blankets are out and there is true frost on the ground. I can’t wait.
To see the next post (the taste test of both the sloe and hedgerow gin) it’s here.


  1. says

    How many seconds did it take for me to arrive here?! Fabulous. I’m of course completely envious of your sloes and picking from the hedgerow. I DID pick the raspberries for my batch but it was not nearly as romantic as my vision of your excursion!

  2. says

    They look like blueberries!

    I’ve heard of sloe berries but I’m not sure they’re readily available here sadly … and I’m certain this would be a drink I would love 🙂

  3. says

    What a cool blog. It is so english. I am from California and I love reading about life and food adventures across the world. I have absolutely no experience with sloe and hedgerow so it was awesome reading about making this tastey treat.
    I write a blog on food, too but with my musings on life and relationships. Please stop by and visit. Maybe follow if you like.

  4. says

    What a coincidence – my brother has just made a vat of sloe gin and sent me a photo. I tried his last year and it was amazing. I might have to go on the hunt for some sloes!

  5. says

    I have to be honest with you. I have no clue what a sloe and hedgerow is, but I do know gin. 1 out of 3 is not bad =)
    Do you ship international?

  6. says

    How awesome! I don’t know if there is anywhere to pick sloes around here, but if I find some, I’m definitely making my own gin =)

  7. says

    Ooooh I love this, looks fabulous. What a well written blog. Just started a teeny food/eating blog myself, would love it if you could have a look and follow if you like xxx


  8. says

    We did this last year and picked so many sloes that I bagged and froze the ones we didn’t use so I could use them this year. The tragedy is that the plug accidentally got pulled on our garage freezer one weekend and I had to ditch them. This happened just after it was too late to pick any more. It will be a sloe gin desert this Xmas. 🙁

  9. Mich Piece of Cake says

    So that’s how gin is made! I have never come across Sloe before, it looks like some kind of a blueberry to me.


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