Make award winning sloe gin
Sloe gin is a gorgeous tipple. Drink a tot on its own or add to a cocktail. Simply delicious.
Its latin name is prunus spinosa which might give you a clue to its spiky nature. Do go armed with gloves! Look for the blackberry bushes and if you’re lucky you’ll find the sloe bushes also known as blackthorn. They can grow up to 6 or 7 metres high and live for 100 years! But the ones round here are much smaller. The fruits are mostly similar in size to a blueberry although I did find some woppers this year.
There’s plenty of debate on when you should make the gin – many say after the first frost. This year, they are so ripe, I don’t think they will last that long as many berries were already falling off the tree.
Sloe Gin Recipe
Severn Bites Sloe Gin
- 800 grams sloes
- 400 grams gin
- Step 1
Rinse the sloes and put them in the freezer overnight to break the skins down.
- Just before you are ready to bottle, sterilise your jars. Wash and rinse your jars and put the wet jars in the oven at 140ºC, Gas Mark 1 for 15 minutes.
- The next day, fill the jars with sloes and top up with gin. You can add a sliver of orange peel for extra flavour
- Store for 6-8 weeks. I am using the method used in Croatia to make fruit liqueurs and storing mine in the sun rather in a dark cupboard.
- Step 2
For this stage you need to make some sugar syrup so you can blend the mixture easily and more precisely than simply adding sugar and mixing. Get a large bowl and sieve ready and a saucepan for the syrup.
- Mix 100 gr sugar (granulated or caster) and 50 ml water in a saucepan and heat slowly until the sugar is dissolved. Let this cool. This is sufficient for 800 ml gin but you may want to add more to your taste.
- Carefully strain the fruit from the jars. You can use a jelly bag if you have one.
- Now it is a matter of adding the sugar syrup to the strained gin little by little, tasting with each addition, until it reaches a flavour you enjoy.
- Pour the gin back into the gin bottle or another clean bottle. You can drink straight away, but it will keep very well for years!
The World Sloe Gin Championships
The World Sloe Gin Championships are an annual event, hosted by The George Inn in Frant. All proceeds of the event are donated to the Hospice in the Weald. Both professional and amateur sloe gin makers are invited to enter. This year’s submission date is 16 December 2018.
In 2016, the homemade category, which attracted more than 30 entries, a record number, was won by food blogger Danielle Ellis from near Dursley in Gloucestershire.
Interestingly, in the blind tasting, the three judges – Anita Martin, Mark Baldwin and Dianna Morris all scored the top six homemade entries above any of the commercial contestants. Extract from press release 2016
If you can’t wait, try these local Sloe Gins
Made in Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, Bramley and Gage steep their Sloe Gin with sugar for 6 months.
Gibson’s Cotswold Organic Sloe Gin is a new addition to their range of fruit liqueurs
For a rather nice twist, try Chase’s Sloe and Mulberry gin created in Herefordshire.
7 thoughts on “Let’s make winning sloe gin”
So can I please just verify that you use 800grams of sloes to 400 ml of gin? All of the other recipes I have found use less sloes more gin. Just trying to preserve my sloe supply! Haha
Hello John. So pleased to hear it turned out well. Love the idea of your Christmas variation! What a great way to spend a day.
Best sloe gin ever. Great recipe. I made 4 litres and 2 litres of a Christmas variation with damsons, dates, cinnamon, cloves, all spice, nutmeg and orange rind which was outrageously good. Basis; Warwickshire sloes and hedgerow fruit. I’m just bottling up the final two litres which has been maturing for five months. The rest of the day will be spent turning the residual fruit into sloe jelly / jam. Happy times!
Hmmm maybe. I’m from NZ so I’m not very familiar with Australian natives, but that is a great idea! Lovely to meet you too!
Would there be a native berry you could use to create your own version? Would love to know! We also make damson gin (small flavoursome plums). Lovely to meet you by the way.
I love the flavour of sloe gin. Hopefully I’ll get to make it one of these days when I can track down a source of fresh sloes. It’s not a common fruit here in Australia but I think it can be grown in the southern states where it is cooler.