5 Top Tips For Making Sloe Gin At Home
If you don’t LOVE sloe gin, there’s only one good reason. You haven’t tried ours yet, or even better, had a go at making your own!
Sod the tonic – sloe gin is perfect served neat over ice. Or go crackers and glug it down in a glass of bubbly for a little bit of festive magic.
Up and down the country, British hedgerows are bloomin’ bursting with ripening rosehips, blackberries and sloes. There’s never been a better time to whack on your wellies, roll up your sleeves and start foraging.
What you’ll need
1. Ripe sloe berries
2. A freezer
3. London Dry gin (preferably a bottle of Warner’s London Dry Gin 😉)
4. Wide-mouthed sterilized lidded jars
5. Glass bottles for your finished sloe gin
6. Sugar/sugar syrup
7. Patience – Around 3 months should do it and that’s sloe joke.
Step 1 - When to pick your sloes
There’s a lot of debate about the best time to pick sloes. Traditionally, you’d wait until the first frost which helps split the sloe skins before macerating them in your gin. Otherwise, you have to prick them which is, to be honest, a total faff!
Save yourself a lot of time (and sore fingers) by slinging your berries into the freezer, 48 hours should do it, and let it do the hard work for you.
Step 2 - Check your sloes are ripe
Berries should be a rich dark purple colour and should squash easily between your fingertips. If they’ve started dropping on the ground, that’s a good sign that they are ripe.
Step 3 - Time to mix things up
Now for the fun bit. Half-fill your sterilized jars with your foraged sloe berries (don’t forget to remove the twigs and leaves first). Fill the jar with a cracking London Dry gin and then it’s time to wait ….. and wait …… and wait. For 2-3 months. It’s a sloe process (sorry).
Important: Give your jars a good shake every week or so to help the berry juices flow whilst they are macerating.
Step 4 - The sweet spot
Contrary to popular belief, the sugar doesn’t need to be added at the start of your maceration. It can result in a super-sweet finished product so try adding it at the end when your sloe gin’s ready to decant.
Adding a sugar syrup instead of granules saves you having to wait for the sugar to dissolve and is an easy way to sweeten your sloe gin to your own taste.
Step 5 - Time to decant
Strain the sloes and gin over a muslin cloth into a bowl, decant into sterilized bottles and tightly seal them.
Homemade sloe gin bottles make a fantastic Christmas gift and it’s the perfect, cosy winter warmer. Find some quirky vintage-style bottles, re-use and upcycle bottles at home and get creative making homemade labels for a lovely personal gift.
More great ideas…
For more epic ways to enjoy your sloe gin, check out these cracking cocktail recipes here: https://www.warnersdistillery.com/blogs/recipes
Bringing it home:
Hopefully we’ve inspired you to have a crack at making your own sloe gin. It’s super easy to do and great for sharing at Christmas. Of course, if you can’t wait that long, don’t forget you can grab yourself a bottle of our award-winning Sloe gin right here: https://www.warnersdistillery.com/products/sloe-gin
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