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If you’re the outdoorsy type then you will know that our British Blackthorn trees are soon to be aching with fruit, and not just any fruit- Sloes. As an avid drinker of Sloe Gin, and any other Gin related drink, this excites me. Sloe Gin is simply gin infused with sloe’s, exactly what it says on the tin, and it is a delicious winter warmer- perfect for this chilly weather.
Sloe Gin has been made all over the British Isles for centuries yet there is still a mystery around the different ways of making it, so since we’re embarking upon winter times I felt this would be a perfect time to talk about it.Two months is the minimum amount of time needed for sloe gin to mature, and as in two months it will be coming up to December, now is the perfect time to get prepping.
You can buy ready made sloe gin from pretty much anywhere, but honestly, where’s the fun in that. Everybody knows that everything tastes better when its home made, especially when its as easy as pick, prick & bottle. After that, all you have to do is wait!
So, without further ado, lets get into the process.. First up, you need to find your sloes; they usually grow quite high up, so get a big stick and start shaking those branches. The easiest way of telling whether the berries are ripe is to pinch them in between your finger and thumb, if they pop easily then they are ready; you should pick enough to fill around half of the bottle you plan to make the Gin in. You should then place the berries in the freezer overnight, this will simulate the ‘first frost’ by which the berries split their skin and realise their natural sweetness. If you skip this step your sloes will be bitter and highly astringent, not ideal.
The next step is to place the sloes into the bottle with a couple of heaped tablespoons of caster sugar, depending on how sweet you like your drinks then top up with a gin of your choice. Please note that the better the gin you use, the better your sloe gin will be, so we recommend a fairly good one!
The final step is by far the easiest, simply place the bottle on its side out of direct sunlight, and twist it 180 degrees every other day for at least two months. The longer you leave your concoction the better, but if you really cant wait- 2 months and you’re good to go!
We love Sloe Gin so much we now sell a superb quality 8 Piece Sloe Gin Set by Kilner. It has one 2L Kilner Glass Jar to make the drink in, four 250ml Kilner Clip Top bottles to store the sloe gin in once ready, a Kilner funnel to prevent mess and a lovely muslin cloth to mop up any spills; it also comes with a recipe just incase you lose this blog post! It would make the perfect gift for any gin lover, or a wonderful treat for your self. If you fancied getting really creative you could even make the sloe gin yourself and give it as a thoughtful & homemade gift, the options are endless!