Some people say there are only three ingredients in sloe gin: sloes, sugar and gin. But actually there is a fourth ingredient – patience! Leave the fruit to flavour the gin for a few months – some foragers even suggest years (although British food writer Nigel Slater says just wait “until the colour resembles a decent Beaujolais”). The ratio of sugar to sloes is up to you – keep trying until you make one to your taste.
Ingredients • 500g sloes 250g to 350g sugar • 1 litre of any gin (you can make this with vodka too)
Prick the sloes with a fork or a needle (or freeze then defrost them, then bash them with a rolling pin) then add them to a large sterilised lidded jar. Add the sugar and gin, put the lid on and shake then store in a cool dark place, shaking every day until the sugar has dissolved. Wait at least three months then strain the sloes out and bottle.
Ingredients • 1 cup sloes • 1 litre of Anise brandy (or any white brandy) a few coffee beans a spoonful of sugar a vanilla bean (optional).
Wash the sloe berries and add them to a sterilised jar or wide mouthed bottle. Add the brandy and sugar, then drop in the coffee beans, and vanilla bean (if using), cover and leave in a dark, cool place for at least three months. You can also try adding chamomile flowers, orange peel or a cinnamon stick.