Let it Sloe, Let it Sloe, Let is Sloe
Oh, the weather outside is delightful, but not for long. So now is the time to get out in the countryside with the birds and the bees, for a hunt through the trees to find some sloe berries. For Gin. Because Christmas (the abominable “C” word) preparation should start as soon as Autumn kicks in. Now is the time to buy a turkey, and save a small fortune. Now is the time to start stocking up on frozen junk food, and right about now, is the time to get that Sloe Gin prepared for a boozy Christmas by the fire. Because, it’s like I always say, when the going gets Sloe, the Sloe get thirsty. So we took a leaf out of The Teasmith Gin’s blog on how to make Sloe Gin liqueur for Christmas and went on a forage of dreams.
Being completely useless at any form of foraging, we started on the coast, the last place we were ever going to find sloe berries. Always the positive thinker (HA), I thought that if I hoped hard enough for sloe berries to appear, then they just, would. That plan failed within the first 5 minutes. So here I was, bothering The Teasmith for details of their local Sloe stock. Thankfully, both The Teasmith Gin and ourselves are based in Aberdeenshire, so I knew that if they had found berries, then berries couldn’t be terribly far away.
The Secret Garden
So here we were, roadside, hunting high and low for those squishy little purple berries. The Teasmith had given us directions. But directions, like foraging, are not our strong point. And it doesn’t help that Scott was designated driver and has little to no faith in my sense of directions. To be fair, every 5 minutes I spotted ‘A sloe tree’ and it never turned out to be one. Until we came across the berry bush of dreams and love. Sloe many berries!
Sloe bushes are a lot bigger than I had thought. At this time of year, the leaves are bright yellow and there are purple berries everywhere. The bush is quite jabby so you do need to take care when picking. I’m also not telling you where the stash is, you’re going to have to check out The Teasmith’s Instagram for that. You may be able to guess from the pictures. You don’t need too many berries, so don’t pick more than a third off the tree. The animals need their sloes for gin too.
The Sloe Process
We arrived home, sloe berries in the bag, ready to start the process. Which was super easy! We didn’t have a (full) litre bottle of gin in the house, just a 500ml bottle of Eden Mill, which is what we ended up using. So these instructions are for a 500ml bottle of Sloe Gin. More in-depth instructions can be found on The Teasmith Blog.
- Use 200g of Sloe Berries for 500ml.
- Pick all the nasty off the berries; twigs, beasties, etc.
- Clean them under cold water.
- Individually prick all of the sloes, with a needle. One or two pricks will do.
- Pop the sloes in a jar large enough to hold your gin.
- Pour in the gin.
- Pour in 120g of sugar
- Shut the jar and shake it.
- Store in a dark, dry, cool place.
- Shake every other day for a week.
- Shake once a week thereafter, opening the jar to release any built-up gasses.
- Do this for two months.
- Get as drunk as a skunk at Christmas.
Gin is the reason for the season, Enjoy!