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.
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. You can take a look at this handy guide if you’re new to foraging to help you identify the sloes. I also have a few golden nuggets of foraging advice too.
I have two batches on the go currently. One is pure sloe gin and the other is mostly sloes but with some blackberries and rosehips thrown in; Hedgerow Gin as I like to call it. The recipes for both are below.
I have used gin in these recipes but you can also try using vodka or rum. See the recipe notes below for different fruits you can try too. Raspberries, plums or strawberries will need less sugar adding to the mix.
Homemade Sloe Gin
- 1.5 or 2 litre sterilised jar or lidded container
- 1 kg sloes
- 1 l gin see recipe notes
- 300 g caster sugar see recipe notes
- After you've picked the sloes give them a thorough wash and put them into a lidded container. Pop them in the freezer for a few days to split the skins. 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.
- After a few days in the freezer the sloes will be ready.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. Be somewhat cautious when removing the sloes as one false move could see them flying all over the kitchen and floor. Put the sloes into a container big enough to hold them and the other gin ingredients.
- Pour in the gin and add the sugar. 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.
For Hedgerow Gin
- Follow the recipe above but add other hedgerow fruits like blackberries, plums or raspberries or you could add a few rosehips too. You will probably need a little less sugar if you are adding sweeter fruits.It's important to taste the gin regularly as sometimes blackberries can turn a bit sour if left to mingle too long. Drain the gin off as soon as you think it's ready.
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