a few weeks ago, we collected a bumper harvest of sloes and although there had been a frost, we put them in the freezer. Freezing them helps split the skins and allows all their flavour to come out when defrosted. It is supposed to save you the trouble of pricking each and every sloe with a needle!!
The weather is too hideous to much of anything so this weekend we made time to make a trip to the super market to get the gin and sugar. The job to hand was to turn these lovely little black fruits into one of my favourite winter drinks.
I associate sloe gin with Christmas and shooting as it is always on hand to warm you up a bit before you get started. People who hunt love it as a stirrup cup drink and I’ve no doubt that there are many other events that people associate with this lovely syrupy drink.
Although, it won’t be ready for this christmas necessarily, by the time next christmas comes round, we will have done it all ever again and started to build up our lifetime supply.
Gathering the fruit is the hardest part, the rest is down to a bit of planning and a lot of gin!
Over the summer, we have systematically collected nice empty bottles and demi johns from car boot sales; paying no more than 50p each and now we have about a dozen. Some of them still have the labels on them from grape wine made in 1974 through to 1976!
Thinking that the 6 kilos or so of sloes that we had collected would fill ALL of those 2 & 5 litre capacity vessels, we sterilised and oven dried all the jars. Once we set about it, though, it was evident that we would only get about 7 or so litres of sloe gin. Still, the jars are clean so we may have to collect more sloes!
We have found a number of different recipes and having never done it ourselves before, we did a bit of searching but the one that JC favoured used about 2/3 of sloes, a little sugar and then gin. He has a secret added ingredient to one of the jars so we will see what happens to the flavour of that one.
After my success with damsons and tasty damson jam in September (food for free, more food for free, even more free food, crab apple jelly, pheasant for tea), I decided to fill a 2 litre demi john with the remnants of the damsons on the farm that I had collected and frozen. I have added sugar and gin so we shall see how that turns out too. It wasn’t very scientific and the measures are probably in no recipe you will find anywhere but I like a bit of an experiment.
It’s a very therapeutic process loading the jars and shaking up the ingredients and it looks so lovely.
They are in the garage and we will have to keep checking them, giving them a good shake up while the sugar dissolves but I can nearly taste it already. I don’t think I can bear to wait for three months to enjoy it!!!!