Nice and Sloe

For years I’ve tried – and failed – to like gin. It’s just too flowery/peppery/bleurgh for me. However I love homemade sloe gin, which, if done properly, tastes more like syrupy port. It’s amazing to sip neat after a long winter walk or if you have a sore throat.

I’m lucky enough to have a friend who makes it, but this year, I’m going to try my hand at creating my own, thanks to the new Kilner Sloe Gin Kit, £29.99 from Lakeland (www.lakeland.co.uk).

It contains everything you need (including muslin, a funnel and a recipe card) to make four bottles – one to keep and three to give as Christmas presents.

Sloe season lasts from now till mid November (although my dad says  sloes are best picked after the first frost, which hasn’t happened yet) so there’s plenty of time to drive to the countryside and go for a fruit-picking ramble. Farmers love planting spiky sloe trees as natural fences to stop cows running amok, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to fill up a basket. I found a few trees (below) on a trip to Warwickshire this weekend – if you’re not sure what to hunt for, sloes look like big fat blueberries.

There’s a dead easy sloe gin recipe below.  No previous booze- making experience or cooking skills required. I’ll drink to that. Cheers!

SLOE GIN

You’ll need:
1L airtight jar and some glass bottles, all sterilised (fill with boiling water; empty; then pop it in a warm oven to dry)
400g sloes, cut or pricked to break the skin
150g Granulated sugar
Approx 500g gin (cheap as you like)

Method:
1) Place the sloes and sugar in the jar and top up with the gin, leaving a little space at the top for air.
2) Shake the jar once or twice a day for the first week; then leave in a cool place for at least two months, shaking once a week (the longer you leave the sloes to infuse, the tastier your gin will be).
3) Strain the gin through a piece of muslin into sterilised bottles.

And that’s it. See? Easy!

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