Sloe gin

Sloe gin is something I make every year around October November time. It’s the perfect drink to sip after over indulging on Christmas day and if it lasts long enough, makes a great gin and tonic in the summer with a few sprigs of mint.

I’ve seen loads of recipes for sloe gin, all varying in the ratio of fruit, booze, sugar and brewing time. The recipe I use is super simple, doesn’t involve any measurements and year on year has produces a great sloe gin.

First step is to save a gin bottle with a screw top. Obviously make this a 1 litre bottle because lots of sloe gin is just better.

Pick your sloe berries. Gloves help with this, along with swearing; if you don’t know why then I guarantee you’ll find out. Remove any stalks and pop into a bag in the freezer for 24 hours. This will split the skins. Defrost before the next step.

Now you need to choose your gin. The sugar and sloes are going to create a wonderful tasting drink by the end of brewing so you don’t need a top shelf gin. I use Aldi’s Oliver Cromwell, which at for £10 for 70cl it’s very well priced. I don’t particularly rate this for a gin and tonic – it lacks the complexities I like, but it works great here.

Visually split your gin bottle into thirds:

  1. Add the sloes to the first third.
  2. Add sugar to the next third – yes it will fall between the sloes so technically you end up with more than a third sugar, but thats part of why this recipe works!
  3. Top up the final third with gin, leaving a bit of space at the top so everything can move around.
  4. Give it an initial shake. Air will come up from the bottom of the bottle creating space. Top back up with gin if it’s a lot, remembering to leave a gap.

That’s it. Shake every day for the first couple of weeks and leave for at least 1 month before opening, 2 months preferably.

I don’t filter or remove the sloes before pouring; everything just sits in the bottle until it’s empty. The beauty of doing this is the longer you leave it the better it gets.

I’ve used this ratio for damson gin, rhubarb vodka and apple vodka – it works well with them all. If things do end up a bit sweet however, add a bit more gin/vodka to the mix.

This recipe a great starting point for anyone who hasn’t made it before and I guarantee that if you like off the shelf sloe gin then this will absolutely blow you away.