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How to make sloe gin

I know I’m a bit behind in posting this sloe gin recipe – I think it’s traditionally served at Christmas due to the time that sloes are growing, but I’ve had so many other things to jabber on about that this has been sat in my draft folder.

The point of this post was to show you lots of glorious photos of me picking sloes in the British countryside before turning them into one of my favourite alcoholic beverages, but I was too full of pain to go walking on the day so the boyfriend went without me. And yes, I gave him a camera. And yes, I asked him to take photos for the blog. And yes, he picked some great sloes. But no, he didn’t take a single photograph.

So, first, with no photos to go with it, pick your sloes. Sloes grow naturally, most often found in hedging plants and woodland. This article in The Telegraph tells you what to look out for and where to go.

Having picked your sloes, put them in a carrier bag and put them in the freezer. The more traditional option is to prick every single one of them, but a number of trendy chef-type people suggest putting them in the freezer has the same effect because the skins crack as the sloe expands. We did it this way and it worked. Keep them in the freezer for 24 hours then follow these steps.

Find some large containers – old glass bottles or Kilner jars work well. Whatever you use, it needs to be sealed tightly shut. Then, make up your sloe gin based on the proportions below.

  • 1 lb of sloes
  • 1 litre of gin
  • 6 – 8 oz of caster sugar (depending on how sweet you like your sloe gin)

Some people choose to make it without sugar, taste it at the end and then make up a sugar syrup depending on how sweet (or not) the sloes are. But, who can be bothered with all that?!

Your sloes should half fill the container, so once you have found your container I suggest you half fill it with sloes then tip them out and weigh them. Based on the weight, you can then work out how much gin and sugar you need.

Also, if you’re going to make little presents out of your delicious gin, I recommend buying some smaller containers – like these. (Also Kilner!)

Sloe gin jars

Once your gin, sloes and sugar are all together in the container, turn the container upside down a few times – slowly. Store in a cool, dark place away from any dark light. Turn the slows every day for approx two months – or until it’s Christmas time and you need to make your tasty drink ready for Sloe Gin Fizz cocktails!

When your two months are up, the liquid should look something like this.


sloe gin

Open the containers and slowly pour the contents into a mixing bowl over a sieve and a piece of muslin. This will catch all the sloes and additional sediments to ensure the liquid is completely clear.

sloe gin

sloe gin

sloe ginUsing a funnel, pour the sloe gin into your gift bottles and – hey presto!

sloe gin

sloe gin

I’ll re-post this for Christmas 2015 but what the hey, it’s always fun to share boozy recipes. Enjoy!


2 comments on “How to make sloe gin

  1. Pingback: Homemade blackberry vodka – part one | A LIFE LESS PHYSICAL

  2. Pingback: Homemade blackberry vodka – part two | A LIFE LESS PHYSICAL

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