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 gr sloes
- 400 gr 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.