Sloe Gin, as soon as those words are mentioned we know it's autumn
A perfect tipple to have in front of a fire on those cold autumnal or winter evenings.
Where to find them and when to pick them? You can find a whole range of in-depth knowledge on the Woodland Trust website this will provide you with thorough information of the Blackthorn trees where Sloes are found.
Our knowledge of Sloes is from growing up walking through woodland with hedgerows full of Sloes. We are now at an age where the Sloes come in handy for an alcoholic winter warmer.
Picking sloes for Sloe gin can always be a tricky one, many will say wait for the first frost however you don't have to wait that long, you can pick them early as long as they are a dark purple and can easily be squeezed between your fingertips.
So why is there a theory to pick them after a frost?
It is due to the frost splitting the skins so that when you tip the sloes into the gin the juices mix with the gin to give it the best possible flavour. If you can't wait for a frost the freezer will replicate this.
An old favourite Sloe Gin recipe:
- Approx 300g ripe sloes, rinsed
- Approx 150g sugar
- Approx 600ml gin
Pop the sloes into a large jar and add all of the sugar and gin, give it a good shake for approx 2-3 minutes.
Store the jar in a dark cool place and re-visit every 2-3 weeks and give it a gentle shake.
Approx 6-8 months later depending how quick you want to drink it strain out the sloes and drain into a bottle, leave the bottle for a further 2-3 months prior to drinking.
The longer you leave it the better this will taste. 12 months is usually the best time just in time for the following autumn and winter.
Enjoy the Sloe Gin