Many people insist that sloes shouldn’t be picked until there has been a frost but if you wait that long you are in danger of someone less patient having already picked the berries. One way round this problem is to freeze them yourself before thawing and using them, another is to prick each sloe with a clean darning needle! Do people still have such things?
500g sloes *
1 ltr gin
~ Prick or freeze and thaw your sloes and put them into a large sterilised jar – a Kilner or similar.
~ Add the sugar and the gin.
~ Seal tightly.
~ Put in a cool, dark place and give it a viddy sherrek (Cornish for good shake) every day until you can discern that the sugar has completely dissolved.
~ Leave it alone for as long as you can – a few months at least, but apparently the longer it sits the better it is and we are talking years here.
* If by some strange chance you don't have scales then sloes weigh about 2g so count 250 of them and you should be OK!There, that wasn’t difficult was it, apart from the waiting bit. The trick is to make some every year so that you have some by. Here is a bottle I have just started from last year’s batch.
I seem to have stored it an inappropriate whisky bottle, I can’t remember why.
Sloe gin has a lovely rich sweet flavour, undisturbed by the original juniper taste of the gin and is a kind of autumnal Rumtopf and is perfectly delish on its own. Some people who like messing with nature have come up with a number of cocktails using it, however, including one called the Hermione Granger containing pomegranate liqueur, grapefruit juice and Champagne!.
Sloe Gin Fizz ~ shake sloe gin together with a quarter as much lemon juice and a little of sugar. Strain into a chilled glass and top up with sparkling soda water. Try to do this last bit as violently as possible to encourage the fizz!
Sloe Royale ~ top up with Champers, which works very well as sloe gin is quite similar to cassis.
I haven’t tried it yet but I think a G & T made with sloe gin might be far more palatable to me than the original drink.
I have however tried adding a modicum of Sloe Gin to the pan juices after cooking duck and it worked very well!