Monday 31 October 2011

Sloe Gin recipe

Making sloe gin is a bit of a tradition in my family - I can remember helping my Grandpa George pick berries along the valley from their house in France well before I was old enough to enjoy the results, and my Dad has been making his own since they moved house to the country about 15 years ago. I've been making my own for about 8 years, I think - the quantity produced has gone up a bit with the acquisition of one of those 5 litre size whiskey bottles, and a wine-making demijohn, so I can make a good few litres a year now.

Anyway, I've been asked a few times for the recipe for how I make it, so as it's that time of year right now, here's my recipe:
  1. Pick lots of sloes - enough to fill a few bottles
  2. At home, discard any leaves, stalks, insects, shivelled berries, etc that you might have picked with your sloes, and then wash and dry the berries.
  3. Once dried, put in a carrier bag and put them in the freezer overnight
  4. Clean out some old bottles
  5. Take the sloes out a couple of hours before you're going to make the gin - do not allow to completely defrost - they go a bit mushy.
  6. Fill the bottles to about three-quarters full with sloes
  7. From the bottle's volume, add 12.5-15% of the volume but in grammes of caster sugar to the sloes, depending on how sweet you want it to be. e.g. for a 1 litre bottle, I add about 130g caster sugar.
  8. Fill the bottle with gin - I normally use local supermarket's half-decent London Dry Gin.
  9. Put in a cool cupboard, and upend once a week to make sure the sugar mixes.
  10. The sloe gin should go a nice red wine colour, and will be ready to drink after a couple of months, and at its best after more than 6 months
  11. When the sloe gin is ready for drinking, or you're coming up to the next sloe season, decant into a clean bottle through a piece of muslin to remove most of the sediment
In our family, sloe gin is enjoyed with some good quality plain chocolate and a few games of racing demon.

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