The sloe is the fruit of the blackthorn, sometimes known as wild plum. They line the hedgerows in the autumn, jostling with blackberries as the most sought after fruit. The blackberry usually wins as sloes can’t be eaten straight from the bush. They can, however, be turned into sloe gin, a warming winter drink.
Its a very easy process. The only three ingredients are sloes, granulated sugar and (non quality) gin. Each berry must be pricked a couple of times with a sharp knife and then plopped into a clean glass bottle (I use clear old wine bottles). When the bottle is about a third to a half filled with berries, add the sugar and top up with gin. The quantities in the recipe I was given are approx one third berries, one third sugar and one third gin. However, I don’t like it that sweet, so use less sugar.
Leave the bottles on their side and turn daily until all the sugar has dissolved. Then keep until Christmas when the it can be decanted into smaller bottles and given as presents. It’s a great one to drink in front of the fire on a cold evening and feels almost medicinal!
There is even a Flower Fairy poem to go with this project…I wonder if this makes it child appropriate?