It’s time to get cracking and make your sloe gin. Two months is the minimum amount of time it needs to be the perfect festive tipple and as it’s now two months until Christmas…
First up, you need to find your sloes. This year in the UK it has been a bumper harvest for these autumnal berries and the trees are aching with fruit. If you can pop the berries easily between your finger and thumb, they’re ripe.
Pick enough to half-fill the bottle of your choice, but before you put them inside, stick them in the freezer overnight. This will simulate the first frost and split the skin on your berries, allowing them to release their natural sweetness.
After sterilising your airtight bottle, half fill it with the frozen fruit and top up with gin – a good gin please, as cheap ones aren’t very nice and will often ruin all of your hard work. Add a couple of spoonfuls of caster sugar and shake for a minute. Lay on its side out of direct sunlight and twist it 180 degrees every other day for two months. Then taste it; if you think you need it sweeter then make a simple sugar syrup. Do this by dissolving equal parts water and sugar in a saucepan over a low heat and allow to cool; add to your liking.
Serve on a crisp winter’s day lunchtime as an aperitif.