Thursday, 11 November 2010

Drink more Gin

Its no secret, I love drinking Gin in every form. From the simple and classic Gin and Tonic with ice and  a slice to high grade martini's in some of the best cocktail bars in the capital, my current favorite bar been 69 Colebrooke Row in Islington. I love the stuff, the refreshing botanical flavors that hit you in a thirst quenching moment, the decadence of a Gin cocktail in a great bar that transports you back to the roaring twenties or understated fifties  and of course the ceremony of making a great G n T.

A month ago or so I became kind of obsessed by making Sloe Gin and sent out a plea on the best way to make your own Sloe Gin to the Twitter Ether. The flurry and amount of tweets I got in return was astounding. Sagely advice on the topic ranged from don't do anything yet as its to early in the year to start making Sloe Gin as there hasn't been any frosts yet , don't bother pricking them all with a pin just bash them with a rolling pin. Thankfully, the best tweet of the day was from a dear friend in Dorset.

 "Don't worry there are shedloads down here, I will pick them and send them up to you"

True to his word, within three days a courier dropped off a small box with a kilo and half of the beautiful deep dark berries carefully wrapped up in bubble wrap for me. I must admit when I opened the box, I squealed with delight like a small child discovering a new toy.

 Apparently the key to a good Sloe Gin is to put the Sloe berries in the freezer, as this simulates the berries  been left out until the first frost, something that is apparently key to making Sloe gin according to English folklore. So as soon as they arrived I popped them in the freezer for a day or two, until I was ready to make the Gin

Sloe Gin
Makes 2 1/2 litres roughly 

Ingredients & Equipment

3 sterilized bottles or jars
2 litres of Gin - there is no point buying really expensive gin for this recipe as it s a waste of money
1 Kg of Sloe Berries
600g of Caster Sugar


First of all I took the Sloe berries out of the freezer and let them slightly defrost for a hour and a bit

Normal advice is when making Sloe Gin is that every berry should be pricked with a pin or needle, and after reading about the process some folklore says that the berries should be pricked with a thorn off the very same bush the berries were picked from. Now those that know me will know, I neither have the patience or the time for any of this malarkey. So on the advice of @lickedspoon , I bashed the hell out of them with a rolling pin.

Fill the jars a third full of the berries and then add about 200g of Caster Sugar to each of the bottles. The sugar draws out the juice from the berries and thus in turn color the gin.

Then fill the bottles/Jars up with Gin, don't make the fatal mistake that I did and not buy enough Gin  - i had to do a mad dash to the local off license for another litre bottle of Gin (the shopkeeper, bless him asked me if  i was alright after buying my second litre bottle of the evening from him an hour after buying the first one).

Once filled with gin, the hard part comes. Place the bottles in a dark cupboard somewhere and then remember to shake or turn the bottles once a day for a week and then shake once a week there after for at least two months. Two months seems like a long time, bit the key is to wait for even longer so that the gin takes on more of the flavor of the berries. I know some one who has had theirs proving for four years !!!
So I'll let you know how it tastes in a couple of months time, thats if I can last that long !


  1. Very nice. I've got a litre of the stuff going myself. All I hope is that it's Sloe berries I picked!

  2. I've got a litre all made and in my wardrobe at the moment ready for Xmas :)

  3. I know mine is stored securely in the bottom of my wardrobe heres hoping that I can last and wait until its ready.

    JB - at least the worse will be a little stomach ache and a interesting flavor - unlike shroom roulette !!!

  4. I second the tip about picking before the first frost if they look ripe, then storing them in the freezer to soften them. It worked on my rosehips.

  5. I'm also with you on the rolling-pin, instead of pricking them with the same thorn that blah blah blah and then singing a special madrigal or whatever. BAM.