Sloe Gin Recipe (makes 1 litre)
Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn, and are a small, wild plum. They are very astringent and so are not normally used in cooking. However, when combined with sugar and alcohol, they produce a beautiful, deep reddy-purple liqueur, which balances the tartness of the fruit. Sloes should be picked in late September. Although you'll hear many people say they should only be picked after the first frost, if you wait this long, the fruit will have long-since been eaten by birds or simply fallen off the tree! However, putting the sloes in the freezer will help to sweeten the fruit, as well as rupturing the cell walls, meaning you don't have to prick the fruit. Don't bother defrosting them, simply pour the gin and sugar over the frozen fruit.
Sloe Gin recipe (makes 1 litre):
- 1kg fresh sloes, or 500g dried sloes
- 250g sugar
- 1 litre gin
- Optional - one or two vanilla pods
- Optional - 1-2 drops of almond essence
How to make:
If using fresh sloes, pop them into the freezer for a few days. This will make them sweeter and also help to extract the maximum amount of flavour. Place the dried/frozen sloes into a 2 litre container and add the sugar, no need to defrost the sloes first. Pour in 1 litre of gin, place a lid on the container and shake vigorously for a few minutes. Give the container a shake every day for two weeks to a month, ensuring all the sugar has full dissolved. Then leave for a further 2-3 months to mature, before decanting. You may wish to filter the liquor to make it crystal bright, but it's not absolutely required.
Don't throw the used sloes away - remove the stones and use the fruit in cakes, serve over ice cream or even make your very own boozy chocolate bars with them!
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