God, I love this time of year! I love it for lots of reasons, there’s a feeling that change is in the air, I love the smell of smoky mornings, the feel of wrapping up in a scarf for the first time, of opening a bottle of red wine by a big fire place and I mostly love it because every year come November I treat myself to a ‘Staycation’, taking a week off to go home, hang out with my mum, dad and dog, and go for long walks in the country to look at all the leaves changing.
Autumn also marks the start of Sloe Berry season. Sloe Berries are wild berries that grow on Blackthorn bushes, and that with a dash of caster sugar and a litre or so of gin, you can make into the most delicious drink 🙂
I love these walks – just look at that view…
and the Autumn colour palette is just sheer perfection, amirite?
this guy is always more than happy to accompany me on a rambling adventure
although I can assure you that he does *not* appreciate stopping every five minutes for me to basically climb a tree and pick sloes (sidenote, don’t climb a sloe tree. It has two inch thorns on. You WILL end up bleeding. Apparently, I wouldn’t know… I mean, I didn’t try that, so…)
Sloeberries can be identified by the Blackthorn trees they grow on which have 2 inch long thorns, and the leaves which have slightly serrated edges. However, if you don’t feel confident picking berries (and you do need to be 100% sure before you feed them to anyone 😉 ), you can buy Sloes in most bigger supermarkets.
To make the Sloe Gin you’ll need:
– A decent dose of patience (it takes at least a month!)
– Roughly 1lb of Sloe Berries (you can get these from the shops if you don’t fancy picking them)
– 250g Golden Sugar
– 1 L Gin
I also try and collect as many miniatures bottles as possible and wash the label off, or alternatively this year, we found these great schnapps bottles in Lidl (of all places!) which is what I’ll be using to store our Sloe Gin in.
So, prick the sloes all over and transfer into a large jar. Add your sugar and your gin, and seal the top shut. Put in the cupboard and set yourself a daily reminder to shake it! Do this every day for a week.
Then, let mature. 5 or 6 weeks is sufficient, however if you just want to enjoy it for yourself, leave for up to 3 months to get the most mature taste!
Once done, strain the sloe gin through muslin into a sterilised bottle and you’re done 🙂