Sloe Gin: Ready for Christmas
Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn which, as the name implies, has dark bark and sharp thorns and care should be taken to avoid the thorns when picking the fruit.
There hadn’t been a frost yet which, legend has it, softens the skins and helps release the berries’ juices. Instead you can freeze them which also saves on the laborious task of pricking each of the tiny fruit with a blackthorn or sterilised dressmaking pin.
After sterilising your airtight bottles (or jars), half fill them with the frozen fruit and top up with a good quality gin before adding two big spoonful’s of caster sugar and shaking gently for a minute. Then, lay the bottles on their side in a cool dark place and turn every day or so for two months. By Christmas the sloe gin should be a gorgeous dark pink colour ready to use in any number of ways.As sloes are part of the same family as plums, cherries and peaches the gin works well served instead of a dessert wine with a fruit pudding such as cherry clafoutis or plum crumble. Alternatively you can drizzle it over ice cream or serve it as a long drink with ice and tonic. However you can’t beat sloe gin served neat as a warming aperitif whilst preparing lunch on a cold winter’s day. Cin gin!