This red liqueur is made from blackthorn bush(sloe) berries.

Gravity: 30.0
Percent Alcohol: 28.5 %
To make sloe gin,
  • Pick sloes from a convenient hedge (apparently it is traditional to wait until after a frost in some places, which may well have the effect of breaking up the cell structure and releasing more flavour, as it does for Eiswein; you can also just bung them in the freezer for a while.)
  • Take a reasonable handful of sloes, prick them if they've not had the frost/freezer treatment, (wertperch says) and put them with several tablespoonfuls of sugar (about the same volume as that of fruit) into a bottle (75cl or 1l) and top up with gin, genever, peket or any convenient grain spirit. Note that if you are using the bottle that the spirit came in, you'll have to drink your way through the volume of the sloes and sugar in the process because it won't fit. Life may be easier if you can get a demijohn or similar container for the maturing stage, and then decant the liquid into bottles later.
  • Leave for six months or so in the back of a cupboard. Maybe a year or two.
  • Filter out the gruts before consuming.

Due to the number of variables presented in this process, the degree of precision in the strengths given in Pyro's writeup cannot be guaranteed. It still works perfectly well, though. Ta to wertperch for a couple of things. Update: the same technique can be used with other fruit small enough to be put into the bottle: we also make damson gin in this way, which has the additional benefit of leaving you with a residue of sweetened, alcoholised damsons which are rather nice as a sauce for ice cream; this is not really the case with sloes.

A liqueur made from gin, and not surprisingly, sloes, the fruit of the Blackthorn. The only other ingredient needed to make this fine drink is sugar.

I've come across a couple of different recipes for sloe gin: one simple and one less simple. Both methods require the same treatment of the sloes. Pick after they've been touched by frost (or put them in your freezer overnight.) The frost will reduce the bitterness of the fruit apparently. It's recommended to prick the fruit individually, but to be honest, I just roll them about with the prickly side of a grater.

You need half as much sugar as gin and two thirds as much of sloes, so 750ml of gin needs about 375g of sugar and 500g of sloes.

The simple method is to merely to combine the sugar, gin and sloes in a jar and leave it for a few months, shaking the jar every week or so to agitate the mixture. I've made some tasty stuff using this method in the past, but this year I'm trying the more complicated method:

First place the gin and the sloes in a big container, but not the sugar. Leave this mixture for five or six weeks, agitating a couple of times a week. After this step, drain off almost all of the liquid and put aside for later. Add the sugar to the fruit in the original container and put this back in the cupboard for a further few weeks, shaking regularly again. This is the cunning step; as the sugar solution is so strong, it draws out more juices from the sloes by osmosis and also removes any expensive gin that the fruit may have sucked up for itself.

The sugar should completely dissolve, at which point you can pour out this rich mixture and combine it with the previous lot to make the final liquid. This should then, ideally, be matured for six months at least, before filtering and drinking. The temptation is usually too much though.

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