As the weather starts to change and the autumn leaves begin to fall, our thoughts turn to the comforting sloe gin.
We have luckily gained access to a very exclusive and oh-so delicious secret recipe that has been handed down the generations and is now available to you fellow gin lovers.
The ideal sloe gin should provide a fantastic balance between sweet and bitterness. Care should be taken when selecting the gin you are going to be using in this recipe.
Follow these simple steps and you will end up with a truly top tipple that will be the talk of the town and could also prove to be a nice surprise winter warmer for your fellow gin friends!
A bit of background
Sloes also known as blackthorns, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family Rosaceae (apples, pears, plums and cherries come from that family of plants too surprisingly). Sloe berries are thin-finished with a very strongly astringent flavour when fresh.
The way to distinguish them and not confuse them with cherry plums (as is often the case) is by their inch long black thorns.
Sloes are often used to make preserves such as jam and chutney or to make liqueurs and/or gin. Apart from that, the wood from the shrub of sloe berries makes an excellent fire wood that burns slowly with a good heath and little smoke.
Fundamentals of making good sloe gin
First things first, make sure that the sloe berries are ripe. If you squeeze them and they are hard as a rock that’s a sign that they’re not ready. Freezing your berries is a key step in making sure that the sloes rupture evenly as that will allow for the flavour to leak out while they’re sitting in the gin.
Lastly, contrary to common belief, sweetening of the sloe gin should take place at the end of the maceration rather than at the beginning, as saturating the spirit with sugar at the beginning prevents it from extracting the natural fruit sugars as well as other flavours from the sloes. Therefore sweetening to taste at the end of the maceration is suggested for yielding the perfect batch of sloe gin.
Using a simple syrup rather than sugar will allow avoiding the wait for the sugar crystals to dissolve. Simply combine equal amounts of sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat and mix until the sugar dissolves, then allow it to cool before adding to the gin.
- 450g Sloes
- 225g Syrup
- 1L of Good quality gin
- Using a cocktail stick or fork, carefully prick the sloes, then add them to the bottle. Add the gin before securing the lid on your bottle and giving it a firm shake.
- Leave the bottle in a secure and top secret location. A cool, dark cupboard will be just perfect! After seven days, shake it to re-ignite the flavouring process.
- Repeat this very scientific process for six long weeks (believe us here).
- To complete, strain the sloe gin through muslin into a sterilised bottle.
- Mix in the syrup and taste as you go to achieve the perfect amount of sweetness.
You are now ready to test the fruits of your labour!
Leave your sloe gin alone! The longer you leave your creation, the smoother and more mature your sloe gin will become.
Add some fizz
Did you know you can also serve sloe gin and Prosecco for a celebratory take on an English classic?
Why not take the time out to let us know how you got on?