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.
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.
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.