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How to make Suffolk sloe gin
Intro: This is an old country recipe from Suffolk, England. It was handed down from my neighbour's great aunt, who lived on the Suffolk/Norfolk border. It's not really a recipe, more just a loose set of instructions. The nice thing about sloe gin is that it lends itself to improvisation; because everyone in the countryside seems to know how to make it, everyone tends to make it a little differently. It's useful to have some basic guidelines to start with though, before one starts improvising.

Step 1:

Step 1. Materials and Equipment
This recipe is enough for two bottles of sloe gin

Ingredients
Gin: one litre
Sloes: (more on that in the next step)
Sugar: approximately 300 grams (more on that as well)

Equipment
Container for collecting sloes (we used plastic bags and got juice all over us. I would recommend a plastic Tupperware or something similar)
Large needle or small fork or anything that you can pierce with
Wine glass
Empty bottle

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<p>HI all. I've been making Sloe gin for three years now. Addicted to the stuff now. I do however have 2 questions.</p><p>1. My sloes this year seems to have some type of blight. Brown splotches. Are these still safe to use?</p><p>2. Simple question but not answered on any website I've looked at. Do you defrost the sloes before or stick them in straight in the containers?</p><p>Thank you in advance for any advise given. </p><p>Had a few containers left over last year so also made lovely. </p><p>blackberry\raspberry\mixed fruit drinks both with Gin and Vodka.</p><p>2 questions 2 tips. Tescos cheap gin = equalivent &pound;14.50 per litre Gorgons = &pound;15 to me might as well use the good stuff. Also great Idea I saw when ready to decant put 1/6th sapphire gin in to decantable bottle first. Boy does that upgrade the taste.</p><p>Also when making dark meat gravy I.e. for beef\Vension\Pork etc put a couple of real good slugs in the gravy and stir before serving. Best gravy I've ever tasted so I make it everytime.</p>
<p>Ha Ha @ashley.nicklin.52 I had to digest and re read your comment about putting slugs in your gravy as thought you meant the slimy ones lol.. til I realised you meant the gin... der!!.. Made me laugh so much. :)</p>
<p>I had the same reaction too :) had to reread lol</p>
<p>I have just started making sloe gin, so not an expert....however, re your question on weather to defrost the sloes before hand, my advice is yes, as the process of them warming up is effectively simulating a natural frost, and during defrosting their natural juice expands, causes the skins to split and release the juice. I am told this helps make a sweeter sloe gin. If unsure, so one batch without defrosting and one with, mark them up and then at Christmas decide which you like best. :)</p>
Can I recommend trying to use bullaces instead of sloes. They are very similar just slightly bigger and juicer. They are quite rare but you could try looking around hedgerows.
<p>Hope it's ok to use Sloes picked in Scotland Ireland &amp; Wales? Tip for those who don't fancy pricking sloes with a fork, just pop them in the freezer for 24 hours &amp; that will do the job for you.</p>
Put the bottle in a cardboard box and keep it in the boot of your car for a couple of months - will get regularly agitated...
I am making a batch of slow gin( have been making it for years). In previous years I have made slow sherry with my gin soaked sloes, however this year I would like to reuse them again in gin. Normally I would use 375ml gin 8 oz sloes and 2.5 oz sugar. Would I have to use the same quantities again or add more sloes and sugar to gin as the goodness has been taken from the sloes during the 1st process. <br>I would really appreciate any advise. Bought sloe gin just doesn't taste the same as home made. Thank you in advance.
<p>I've been making sloe gin for years, and a tip I heard on BBC Essex from another maker was to leave the sloes in the gin till Christmas, decant and save the sloes reuse to make sloe sherry - no sugar - and keep till Easter, decant again and use that in your gravy!! Magnificent. </p>
<p>If you need help confirming you have the right fruit, I found this on a telegraph.co.uk article on Sloe Gin making: &quot;Pierce their skin with a thumbnail and if green-fleshed with a plum-like little stone in the centre, you&rsquo;re in business&quot; They are *very* bitter, which is another easy way to spot if you have Sloes.</p>
Im just about to make my second batch of sloe gin,but noticed in sainsburys that you can now buy sloe gin already made.much easier option.
<p>I bought the Gordons Sloe Gin and thought it was awful compared to home made.</p>
<p>try it with blueberries realy brings the flavour out of them use less sugger though</p>
<p>HI all. I've been making Sloe gin for three years now. Addicted to the stuff now. I do however have 2 questions.</p><p>1. My sloes this year seems to have some type of blight. Brown splotches. Are these still safe to use?</p><p>2. Simple question but not answered on any website I've looked at. Do you defrost the sloes before or stick them in straight in the containers?</p><p>Thank you in advance for any advise given. </p><p>Had a few containers left over last year so also made lovely. </p><p>blackberry\raspberry\mixed fruit drinks both with Gin and Vodka.</p><p>2 questions 2 tips. Tescos cheap gin = equalivent &pound;14.50 per litre Gorgons = &pound;15 to me might as well use the good stuff. Also great Idea I saw when ready to decant put 1/6th sapphire gin in to decantable bottle first. Boy does that upgrade the taste.</p><p>Also when making dark meat gravy I.e. for beef\Vension\Pork etc put a couple of real good slugs in the gravy and stir before serving. Best gravy I've ever tasted so I make it everytime.</p>
<p>Hi came across this - very useful and instructive and some of the comments did make me lol! May be worth also reading the Sipsmith article on it at http://www.sipsmith.com/blog/articles/how-to-make-the-perfect-sloe-gin, in particular not adding sugar at the outset, and not using cheap gin, although they may be slightly biased on the latter! The freezing method works very well I find, after many years of tedious finger pricking and staining! Working my way through a bumper early crop of about 8lbs of nice plump sloes at the mo, on my 10th litre and will give this method a try with some of it.</p>
we add 1lb of sloe to 1l of gin and 6oz of sugar. Freezing does mean you don't have to prick them (or your fingers repeatedly). 2 months is more than enough time to soak, but once decanted out improves with age. We also have a recipe for venison with gin soaked sloes!
<p>try it with blue berries makes big diffrence :-)</p>
Here's nother good step by step <a href="http://www.davidgregory.org/Sloe_gin.htm">easy way to make sloe gin</a> with some suggestions about what you can do with the boozey sloes.
Thank you for these instructions. I love the way they're written, gave me a few laughs!
Some of methods shown are good BUT BUT - the REAL method involves pouring half of the gin down the loo or giving it to a neady friend -- or to me. Next it is ESSENTIAL to prick the sloes either with a silver needle or with a thorn taken from the same bush as the sloes you have gathered. Nothing else will produce satisfactory results. Try your own methods first if you wish but the results will be second rate. You can then save face by sending the resultant mis-hits to me for correction. I drink a lot of this stuff and I KNOW.
Once you've made your sloe gin and decanted it, don't throw the sloes away, just add a pint of cream sherry to the sloes. leave for a few months ( the longer the better)and then decant and enjoy the fruits of your Hard!! labour.
Hi Just made my first sloe gin <br>its handy for me as i am a volunteer in a new planted woodland(5 years) so there are several blackthorn bushes,so handy <br> <br> <br>Picked a coffee jar full of sloes washed and cleaned them <br>Bought a 1 ltr gordons gin <br>Halved it into another bottle <br>Put in150 gms sugar in each <br>I pinch (squeeze) the sloes before putting inthe bottle <br>And thats it <br>I don't drink <br>but i will have lots of friends by christmas
For even better results you could tap each sloe with a small hammer whilst frozen but this slightly increases the finger hurty risk.
ive just learned how to make sloe gin but didnt realise I had to defrost the berries before pricking them!!!! wow frostbitten fingers..I added 4 ozs sugar to half a bottle of gin(all I had in the cupbpoard) I tasted some of a friends and wow just a tiny amount realy warms the cockles and it did my cough a power of good...
Or bake them into a very boozy pie :)
There is an easier way to do this step to save your fingers; if you bag up your sloes in freezer bags and freeze them overnight they will burst because the water expands inside them - then you just let them defrost in your bottle/demijohn thing and add the gin and sugar - works the same but takes less finger hurty stabby effort.
We make plum gin every year - and damson gin - but have just moved house and have a sloe bush so now we're adding to our collection :) plum gin is delicious, sweeter than either sloe or damson gin.
I have learned some new things today - I had no idea that there was a type of berry called a 'sloe' or that there was actually a delightful sounding beverage called sloe gin. I am aware of a font called "sloe gin rickey" - is that a beverage too??
I am making damson gin - I made it 2 years ago exactly the same way as sloe gin - but I have lost the recipe! I have a pound of damsons in a bowl, with a pound of sugar (that's the amount of sugar my original recipe used). The unexpected damsons were picked yesterday (did not see any blossom this year, but saw damsons which had fallen!).There were far less damsons than previous years, but twice the size and not very visible until I went up the ladder. I have 4and a half pounds placed in plastic jars from bottled fruit bought in the supermarket,. I put them in a jar on the windowledge in the sun, as some were not quite ripe. Today one jar was full of juice, so I am having to make some gin quite quickly. I've put the rest in the freezer for later attention. Do I need a litre of gin for this amount of damsons? Please reply urgently if possible! Gill
And there's life in those sloes yet!  When they've done in the gin and you've taken them out, cover these gin-soaked sloes in sherry (fairly sweet is fine, but it depends on what you like) in a sealed container and leave for a week or two, shaking occasionally if you can remember.  It won't get the richness and colour of a good sloe gin, but it perks up a cheap sherry...
Someone needs to think up a cocktail involving this that you can set on fire, just so you can call it a "Sloe burner". Or maybe a "sloe comfortable (censored)"... If you follow this Instructable, don't be tempted to eat raw sloes. They have the magical ability to suck all of the water out of your mouth and replace it with a very strange, bitter, powdery sensation. There's an entire glass of sugar for a reason.
There really is a drink called a "Sloe Comfort-able Screw" which is a variant of the classic screwdriver. It's made with sloe gin, Southern Comfort and orange juice.
I... wow. The levels of punning in that name are turning my brain inside out. Also, it sounds <em>delicious</em>.<br/>
I never knew that sloe gin was really made with gin. Ya learn somethin' new every day, if you're not careful. Your method works with any fruit/alcohol combination. Vodka works best if you want the flavor of the fruit to be the main focus. Everclear gives you a really "potent potable" as they say on Jeopardy. x)
use dragon fruit
I did something similar this fall with crabapples and rose petals using mason jars instead of water bottles. It turned out quite well.
Can you only get Sloe's in England?? Dumb question probably.....I don't know if we have them here in the States...
...I have no idea what sloes are... can we just use blueberries instead?
Awesome to know in case they bring back prohibition with the depression! Isn't gin made with juniper berries? Those are plentiful, in California anyway.
...this is just a way of flavoring the gin... You'd still need to get gin to make this...
but what do you do if there's a bustle in the hedgerow? need I be alarmed?
naw, that's usually just a spring clean for the may queen:)
heh, heh, good ol zep. nice instructable, too. very easy, cept for the waiting. I assume this could be adapted to any berry? i know that liqour containing sugar can give a nasty hangover, will this if taken in excess??
it probably could be adapted to most berries, I would think, although the fact that people having been making sloe gin in the countryside for a long time does kind of make you wonder...i mean, you never hear about plum gin or raspberry gin, for example. but it's worth trying it out. As for the hangover, drinking a lot of sloe gin reminds me of taking Nyquil (or Night Nurse in the UK)...kind of groggy but not in a bad way. but I suppose it depends on how excessive is excess :)
AARGH! I <em>hate</em> it when that happens.<br/>I was getting all geared up to do a sloe gin instructable, and you beat me to it! All I'm missing is the sloes and I'm planning on sloe hunting this weekend (although my usual favourite places have had a very poor crop this year). <br/>Nice work though, I think you've covered everything, and I'd second your comments about the sugar. Many of the recipes use way too much (for my taste) and you end up with a very sickly end product. I think you've got it about right.<br/>I usually make sloe gin in demijohns, and had a three-john-year last year, so drinking plenty this winter. It changes and improves with age, and develops a taste similar to a tawny port after a couple of years - if you can keep it that long. We finished off our three-year-old sloe gin a couple of weeks ago.<br/>
I've never heard of a sloe before today, but this is really interesting. I don't really drink, but I think the things people do with alcohol are amazing. :D
yeah, it is kind of weird. i had always thought sloe gin was spelled 'slow gin' and i thought it was some kind of process for making gin (not that i had ever really thought about it that much). when i moved to the country and people talked about picking sloes for gin, i just had to try it out. it's much nicer than it sounds - beautiful color, really easy to drink and very strong.
Yeah, I love the color! <br/><br/>I'm still really curious about this whole fruit/berries + alcohol thing. I think the closest I'll get here in Kentucky is the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Cranberry-Infused-Vodka/">cranberry infused vodka</a>!<br/>
An easier method than pricking them all is to just put the sloes in a bag and put them in the freezer. This splits the skins - this is the way I've always done it and i've never had a problem! Just put the frozen sloes into your gin mixture and they'll thaw out. Another reason this is great is if you pick too many sloes (this inevitably happens), just keep them in the freezer, and you can use them whenever you want, without the need to prick them. I make sloe vodka in a similar way. I just pour the vodka out of the bottle (70cl bottle) into a jug, and fill the empty bottle roughly 1/3 full of sloes, add sugar until the bottle is about half full, and then pour the vodka back in - as much of it as you can. Then I just shake it every week, or whenever I remember to. This results in a really sweet sloe vodka that is great in the summer with lots of ice and lemonade, in a jug. I have a bottle that is nearly 2 years old that I haven't got round to yet! Nice instructable. 5 stars :)
the freezer bit is a very good idea. pricking the sloes is a pain after the first five minutes of novelty has worn off. plus it gives you time to get more gin or vodka if you've picked too many sloes. we almost ended up making sloe cognac (possibly interesting) and sloe Baileys (truly disgusting) before we found a forgotten bottle of vodka...

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