Let's start with the ba­sic Sloe Gin

This England - - In England – Now! -

IN­GRE­DI­ENTS:

750ml/1.5 pints gin 340g/12o sugar 500g/1lb sloes ●

METHOD: Sloe gin is de­li­ciously warm­ing, and easy to make. Sim­ply take the in­gre­di­ents and leave them in a jar or bot­tle in a cool dark place for a few months be­fore strain­ing to give you your sloe gin. This may sound sim­ple, but this is all there is to it.

What is hap­pen­ing to your gin Two things are hap­pen­ing to your gin as it sits in your dark cup­board. Firstly the flavour from the sloes or other fruit botan­i­cals is be­ing in­fused into the gin, and se­condly the sugar is dis­solv­ing into the gin, tak­ing the edge off the tart flavour of the sloes, mak­ing it sweeter. It’s these two ba­sic pro­cesses that can be played around with to make a va­ri­ety of in­fused gins for ev­ery oc­ca­sion. I caught up with award-win­ning bar­tender Mark Bar­rett, who can usu­ally be found con­coct­ing and mix­ing at Cringletie House in Pee­bles. Mark's top tips for flavour­ing gin at home: Make sure the con­tainer you are us­ing is clean and ster­ilised. The lower-sugar recipes pro­cesses I favour make it a per­fect place for bac­te­ria to grow, so as well as stan­dard wash­ing I rec­om­mend us­ing some­thing like Mil­ton fluid.

Use a glass con­tainer for in­fus­ing, as it’s not only see-through, but is eas­ier to clean and main­tain.

Make sure your con­tainer has an air-tight lid and am­ple space to house your in­fu­sion with room for stir­ring or shak­ing.

Use a neu­tral flavoured gin.

When us­ing any fruit or veg, freeze it

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