I decided to try making sloe gin for the first time this year. I came across a thicket of blackthorn bushes on a walk a couple of weeks ago. I debated about whether to wait until after the first frosts, or to pick some and put them in the freezer. In the end the freezer won out – we’ve had some unseasonably warm weather for late September and early October and I wanted to have some sloe gin to drink at Christmas.
One of my friends told me to pick more sloes than I thought I would need – because they are very small fruits, it’s easy to think you have picked enough when you haven’t. I went up Frugal Hill to the thicket one day after work and picked about a third of a carrier bag full. When I got home and weighed them, I found I had 3lb of sloes! I decided that I would make two batches of sloe gin and gave the spare 1lb to my friend.
Two batches went on last weekend. I just bought some 1.5 litre Kilner jars because they are wide necked and would be easy to put the fruit in. I used 1 litre of supermarket standard gin to 450g sloes and 225g sugar. I couldn’t bring myself to spend £16 on a bottle of premium gin but this year is an experiment, so see what will work. The second batch used the same amount of sloes, but 700cl cheap basic gin, and 100g sugar.
There seems to be a lot of folklore out there about how sloe gin varies according to the year, the tree, the type of gin, so it will be interesting to see how these two types of gin turn out later in the year,. I’ll let you know how it turns out nearer Christmas.