Let’s get straight into this…
Around two years ago, I went on a little mission to make my own sloe gin. It’s really easy to make, you basically pick as many sloe berries (ideally after the first frost) as you can from the hedgerows, prick them, put them in an Old Rosie bottle after making some seriously bad memories drinking the contents, cover the sloes in sugar, top it up with a bottle of gin and you’re away. You must be strict with yourself and shake the contents every day for around three months, then you just let it do its thing for as long as you like – I left my particular batch a year! It was delicious and filled many-a-hip flask but after asking mum to hide the bottle from dad one fine morning, the dear liquor hasn’t be seen since proving just how good mothers are at hiding things.
I kept the alcoholic sloes from the gin batch because it felt like a terrible waste to throw them away. I had plans to put them into jars, then perhaps add a singular sloe to champagne occasionally or perhaps just eat a couple before a night out to get completely trolleyed. I googled what fellow alcohol enthusiasts had done and that’s where I came across a recipe for port.
Now, in ‘good practise’ port is made from grapes, just like wine but and this is interesting, brandy is added. So, with my fermented sloes I added: 1 bottle of red wine, a generous amount of sugar and around half a pint of brandy. I smothered this new creation in attention and shook it gently for around a month then, I must admit I totally forgot about it until the other day.
I was impatient to try it after this re-discovery so this afternoon I dug out a flight sock (it had been washed) put it over the bottle and distilled the contents into a jug, then poured the delicious burgundy liquor into a trendy bottle that you can actually get from Tesco’s.
Must say – it’s delicious. God knows what alcohol content it is, whether it’s safe to drink and what I’ll feel like in the morning but after half a glass I’m still standing, thoroughly enjoyed it and I ask that you give it a go this winter. I have included a photo of some sloes in case you’re not sure what they look like – although they’re out, I do recommend waiting until after a frost for picking!