Alan has been making a lovely Sloe Gin for the past couple of years. Blackthorn trees are plentiful in the Burren and so their fruit – the beautiful, round, black sloe – is usually abundant by late August. This Autumn it felt like there were sloes dripping out of every corner of every ditch and they hung around for a good number of weeks, allowing us to pick small bag-fulls as and when it took our fancy. It proved a good distraction for the two year-old who was well able to pick these sturdy berries. He made a surprisingly focussed picker!
We drink this as a bit of a Winter warmer. If you’re a gin lover, you can expect this to be a bit different to the standard spirit. The end product is quite a syrupy liqueur. I would term it a “put-hairs-on-your-chest” type of tipple. Alan’s take is that it is “very drinkable”. Either way, we enjoy it.
What to get: 500g of ripe sloes, 250g of golden caster sugar & 1 litre of gin
What to do: Wash the sloes and pat dry. Prick each sloe using a cocktail stick and place in a 2-litle sealable jar (sloes that have been frozen can be added directly to the jar as they will have self-burst – a little job saver!). Add the sugar and gin and seal the jar. Shake well. Leave the jar in a cool, dark place shaking each day for one week. Leave to develop over 2-3 months. When ready, strain the liquid mixture into a clean bowl through a plastic sieve lined with a square of muslin. Decant into clean, dry bottles.
And that’s the simple art of Sloe Gin.
Like most of life’s best things it improves over time, so this year’s batch will be perfect for Christmas 2017 – if it lasts…