With the enclosure of the countryside in the 16th and 17th centuries came a huge increase in blackthorn bushes, used to divide up fields, and therefore lots of sloes. The popularity of gin at the time meant that there was an ideal way of making otherwise quite unpalatable sloes a bit more exciting.
Sloe gin is a great drink to prepare in time for Christmas and the long winter months that follow. I love the whole process, from picking the sloes to hiding the bottles in a dark corner to mature.
I’ve never made sloe gin the same way twice – it’s always a bit haphazard – but for me the two most important things are not to use too much sugar, and to wait three months before you drink it (always hard!).
Quantities depend on how many sloes you pick, and are very rough – but, broadly speaking, use enough sloes to half-fill your bottle, and about 50g of sugar per litre.
- 500g ripe sloes
- 50 sugar
- 1 litre gin