Tuesday, September 26, 2006

In preparation: Sloe Gin

Autumn is all about the anticipation, and one of the most anticipated events of the year for children and children-at-heart, is Christmas. Getting ready for is probably one of the best things about it. This year Christmas is at our house, if you want to come please feel free but if you don't that's fine too; we're happy to go it alone. So, in anticipation for Christmas, I'm starting a series called "In preparation" which will highlight all of my cooking in readiness for the 25th of December.

First off the mark is Sloe Gin, aptly named because it takes quite a while to mature and the longer you leave it the better. It's made from sloes and better if picked from a forest. I picked mine from eBay, which was much easier and less time consuming. They were in excellent condition and even came with a free recipe. Ah, eBay...

A pound of sloes is best to sit in a litre of gin. About 500-600 grams of sugar is needed, depending on personal taste. We picked the sloes over, removing the twigs and leaves and any that were overly crushed. Each berry was then painstakingly pricked a few times with a skewer - which will allow the flavour and colour to leach from the berries. They were then added to a sterile bottle with the sugar and gin. The bottle was then gently shaken to ensure that all of the sugar was wet.

Every day we tip the bottle over to see that all the sugar is being dissolved, and everyday the colour deepens slightly. In a few months we will decant into smaller bottles, straining and discarding the berries (I wonder if there's a use for them somewhere). Come Christmas, we will enjoy a bottle, and have a few extra spare for unexpected guests.


4 comments:

eops said...

Wowser! Sloe gin kicks ass - me and me friends tried to make sloe gin on a number of occasions some of which were very successful indeed and some which were ... well ... Impatient.
The risks involved in drinking it early are minimal but the taste definitely deserves the wait!
My fave sloe gin experience tho was when one of these impatient moments occured exactly 12 years back - it was my birthday (ie today WOOHOO!) and my mate clare had been saving her gin with care when we ran out of Tequila!!! Needless to say there was a rush of blood to the head and much scurrying till VOILA! Sloe slow quick gin appeared! Still with all the berries in - we said f*** it and drank about three bottles worth between 6 of us very, very fast ... then a sloe fell out ... and a sloe was thrown ... then three bottles worth of sloes began bouncing everywhere in a berry fight that will never be forgotten!! bruises breakages and lots of laughing. 2 years later I moved out of the flat still finding sloe berries every-fucking-where!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! love ya - and save me a glass!
eamonio

Bonnie said...

A glass is yours, my love! Happy Birthday!!!

I hope our Sloe Gin doesn't end up like Clare's....

Andrew said...

wish I had picked more fruit now as I only managed to make one litre. I also made some sloe cheese from an old recipe someone has left on my blog - so that used up a ton of fruit too. And all I managed to make was one and a half small jars of the stuff! oh well, will have to wait until next year now.

Anonymous said...

andrew if you don't mind spending a bit of time looking there are still quite a few clumps of sloes around.i think our strange weather this year has allowed us more chances of extra fruit.me,hubby and 3children spent a couple of hrs last weekend picking them.have now got 6 bottles all ready to give as gifts for christmas.look for places that are well sheltered by bigger trees.we went down a track for walkers and found some that where well over but then walked for another 10mins and found bush after bush with lovely plump sloes under a few big old trees.think the trees had given them good shelter after the cold few nights we had.happy hunting..
susie.

Search Daydream delicious...