I began this project in October with sloes freshly picked during our anniversary weekend away in the Cotswolds, read about it here. Though easy enough to make, the long wait that follows involves a mixture of curiosity and apprehension. Will it work? Did I pick the right recipe? What if it more resembles a sickly, sticky cough syrup than the fragrant liqueur I was hoping for? After all, there will be no more sloes until next year, and that bottle of gin wasn’t cheap.
After eye-ing up the jars of berries and liquid for two months, watching the contents gradually deepening to a plummy red, it was finally time for bottling. I saved up a few attractively shaped bottles for the task and sterilized them first.
Sadly, not quite all of the gin would fit in the bottles, (*sigh* whatever should I do?) This of course lead swiftly to an inevitable, but equally important task – tasting. Well, it was after 12 noon (just), so why not? I filled the bottom of a wine glass…. and then became completely useless for the next half hour or so. Warning: Do NOT underestimate its potency, regardless of how easily it slips down.
These pretty labels gave the perfect finishing touch. Find them here as a free printable by Alexis Snell. We took a bottle to each of our parents’ homes over Christmas an the little one made a cute gift alongside some smokey cheese, homemade chutney and crackers.
Next year I am seriously considering picking a whole load and freezing them in batches or just making much greater quantities. Though I naturally associate sloe gin with being a winter tipple, there is no reason why it should remain so – why not enjoy it all year round? I would be as happy sipping this outside on a summer evening post barbecue as I would in front of a crackling fire.
“More?” you ask.
Yes. Why not put your left over sloes to good use? Especially now that they are beautifully infused with gin. The answer is…make your own port! Bet you didn’t know you could make that at home.
Homemade Port Recipe
- 500g sloes
- 100g sugar
- 1 750ml bottle of red wine
- 200ml brandy
Combine sloes, sugar and wine in a large sterilised jar. Leave for 6-8 weeks, shaking at regular intervals. Add the brandy to fortify, and mix. Transfer to sterilised presentation bottles.
Of course this is another waiting game so you will have to wait another 5-7 weeks to find out how that turns out. If you’re a pinterester like me, (help is out there!) make sure you ‘pin’ this, or save it some other way because you are going to be wanting this when Autumn comes around again.