Homemade Sloe Gin Recipe
Sloe Gin holds a very special place in my heart. Not just because I am an old lush, but because my Grandmother, Vera, used to make this as her specialty. Every autumn we would go for a walk, usually via a pub, and pick the abundant sloes from the local bushes of Waltham Forest. My Grandfather, Percy, would then tirelessly prick the sloes, add sugar and gin and the whole beautiful lot would be left for months to infuse. We were far too young to be drinking but as we got older, Kate and I were allowed to sample the elegant, sloe scented liqueur. So, my love for Sloe Gin began and it’s such a joy to share this recipe with you.
I have never managed to either a) find sloes in South West London b) muster the enthusiasm to find sloes in South West London or c) found a spare minute to forage for sloes in South West London. So, I was besides myself to stumble across the Ballihoo website, selling dried sloes. They arrived in super quick time and I followed Ballihoo’s recipe to make my very own Sloe Gin. Since my Grandmother is no longer with us, for years now, I have had to make do with bought Sloe Gin, Plymouth do make a lovely batch.
My own gin won’t be ready until the end of January, so I will have to suffice with the shop variety for one more Christmas. It is with eager anticipation I will be shaking my jar *not a euphemism* for the next two months and I will be sharing my spoils with you after Christmas. When everyone apart from me will be partaking in Dry January, so I can enjoy this all to myself.
Here’s the lovely line up for my Homemade Sloe Gin. The dried sloes seem v promising, the key here is to soak them overnight so they rehydrate sufficiently before they do their job with the gin.
Make a start by washing the sloes to get rid of any dirt and dust. I gave them 3 good sluices, until the water they were rinsed in ran clear.
Place the rinsed sloes in a large bowl then pour on 400ml boiling water.
Leave these, covered with a tea towel, overnight to rehydrate.
Once the soaking time is up, pour the now dark and plump sloes and any residual soaking liquid into your lovely big jar. Mine was a half gallon affair, also bought with the sloes from Ballihoo. A half gallon is a random 1892.7 milliletres, which is this weeks interesting fact of the week.
Next, tip in the caster sugar then pour on the wonderful litre of gin. No need for your best gin here, just use what you have in the cupboard. You will be infusing it with the hedgerow sloes, so it will be filled with flavour.
Screw the lid on good and tight, you don’t want to waste a single drop of this, then give the whole lot a mighty shake.
Once all the sugar has dissolved, put the jar in a darkish place and shake this every week to ensure thorough infusion. Then leave for an agonizing 2 months before straining off the berries and storing the sloe gin in clean glass bottles. I will keep you posted on how I get on with mine.
In the meantime, here’s some Sloe Gin Plymouth Gin kindly made earlier.
Pour a generous shot of Sloe gin into a tumbler with some ice then top up with tonic water.
This is quite the most refreshing, drinkable drink, very different to the normal gin and tonic. Enjoy every delicious moment of this. Especially if you are having to wait for your own batch to be ready.
I am so excited to be recreating my beloved Grandmother’s Sloe Gin at last. I hope mine does hers justice. The most difficult thing will be trying not to “sample” too much of the gin whilst it’s brewing.
Have a lovely Cocktail Friday and a restful weekend.
Homemade Sloe Gin Recipe
You will need a half gallon sized jar, which holds an uncatchy 1892.7ml
500g dried sloes
400ml boiling water
250g caster sugar
1 litre gin
Sloe Gin and Tonic
40ml sloe gin
Ice and a slice of lemon to garnish
For the sloe gin take your dried sloes and give them a super thorough rinse, until the water you wash them in runs clear.
Next, take a large bowl and tip your clean sloes in. Pour on 400ml boiling water, stir then cover with a tea towel and leave over night to soak.
The following day, pour the sloes and any soaking water into your thoroughly washed and rinsed jar. Tip in the caster sugar then pour in your lovely gin.
Screw on the lid of the jar and make sure it’s not leaking before you give the whole lot a really good shake. Make sure the sugar has dissolved then put your jar of gin in a dark place for two long months. Give the jar a good shake once a week to ensure you get the maximum flavour from your sloes.
To make a sloe gin and tonic take a good sized tumbler and add a handful of ice. Pour in the shot of sloe gin and top up with tonic water. Garnish with a slice of lemon and enjoy every sip.