Friday, 18 November 2011

I declare it Gin o'clock: Sloe gin

It is with much interest that Mark and I follow @Queen_UK on twitter, she never ceases to amuse us with her acerbic wit and sardonic asides. And my promise does say that I will "serve my Queen and my country" so naturally the possibility of making sloe gin was not to be turned down.

Like the recent Elderberry cordial sloe gin was something where there was no one definitive recipe for - although at least I didn't need to check which bits were poisonous with the sloes! Last year I held out to wait for frosted sloes, only to find that the blackbirds had thoroughly filled their tummies. This  year Mark's parents helped me out when they came across some on a walk, which was a relief as I couldn't fimd any locally. (Damn living in town)

So without a definitive recipe, here is my general
Penelope's Pantry Sloe Gin Guidelines...

Wash and prick the sloes (you could miss this step by freezing them overnight to split the skins) and then put them at the bottom of large kilner (or any) jars. 
I had 2 pints (1 litre) of gin and so split the sloes in half between 2 kilner type containers
Add 12oz sugar (I just used granulated)
Top with the gin, screw the lids on tightly and leave in a dark cool place

For the first 2 weeks (or until the sugar dissolves) shake your containers every day. Then just give them a turn over or shake as you remember.

At some point you will need to strain the berries out of the gin, from all the guidance I've had (both internettty and real life) it seems that whenyou do that is entirely up to you. the lovely man I spoke to at the Newbury show drains his after six weeks, other people wait up to a year. I think I'm going to strain mine relatively soon so that I can bottle it before Christmas.

Again when you drink it is up to you - all my research indicates that older sloe gin matures into a soft madeira like flavour, whereas when it's newer, it retains the tartness of the fresh fruit. Personally I prefer younger gin in a champagne cocktail at Christmas, and the older is an amazing after dinner drink - or one to secrete about your personage in a hip flask for a winter walk!

1 comment:

hungryandfrozen said...

Don't think we can get sloes here in NZ, but I've read about sloe gin, sounds amazing - especially how its flavour matures.

Love that twitter account, one of the best parody ones on there :)


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