Quick, quick, sloe!
The end of October after the first frost is typically the time to collect sloes to make sloe gin. This year has been a mixed year for sloes, some hedgerows seem to have a good crop whilst others have nothing, in additon we had a frost (in this part of the country at least) quite early in the month, and with the warm summer and hence early ripening many of the sloes that are there are already starting to dry and shrivel.Most years I make Sloe Gin following the traditional method of pricking the frosted sloes, adding them with the sugar to a jar, topping with gin and then leaving for weeks whilst mixing daily. This year I am trying something a bit different based on a method which featured a few years ago on the Shooting Times website, called “Captain Harriman’s Accelerated Sloe Gin”.
It was developed to produce Sloe Gin ready in time for the first hunt in November as was inspired by of all things a damson crumble!
You will need about 450g (1lb) of sloes, 250g (1/2lb) caster sugar, 75cl of gin and a few drops of almond essence (optional).
- Place the washed sloes in an oven-proof dish and cover with the caster sugar.
- Place in the oven at about 150 degrees centigrade for about 20-30 minutes or until the fruit has burst open and the juices have dissolved the sugar.
- Allow to cool and then forces the mixture through a sieve to remove the stones. Rinse out any remaining bits out of the oven dish with some of the gin and place the pulp and juice into either a jar or bottle and top up with the remaining gin.
- After a few days check for sweetness and add more sugar to taste and add the almond essence if using. The original recipe suggests adding a dash of Polish pure spirit vodka to make it a bit stronger.
- The sloe gin should be ready to drink in about 2 weeks. It appears slightly cloudier than when made conventionally but simply pass it through a jelly bag or some fine cloth to clarify.
Good luck…………and remember to drink sensibly!