Mr B’s mum has been picking sloes from the frozen hedgerows of The North and he phoned me up to offer me some for making. Ever gracious, I accepted, saying: “Thank you, are you making ?”

“Yes,” said Mr B.

“The we should have a sloe gin making competition.”

“You’re on.”

Mr B made his sloe gin at least a fortnight ago, while my sloes sat in their bag in the freezer, biding their time. You’d think his head start would worry me, especially as he has added secret ingredients to his sloe gin, but I’m not a bit concerned. Because I also have secret ingredients and I think they will prove me the winner. Or they will be a complete disaster. I don’t know which yet and won’t until April, but that’s the thrill of sloe gin making.

Definitely the winning sloe gin
Makes 1 bottle

400g sloes, frozen
160g caster sugar
1 star anise
15 peppercorns
A strip of dried orange zest (as much pith removed as possible)
750ml fairly neutral gin (I used the Waitrose Original Dry London Gin)

1 Sterlise your jar.

2 Put the sugar, spices and orange zest in the jar and then pour in the gin. Seal tightly and give it a good shake. Store the gin somewhere dark, giving it a shake every day for a week, then leave to settle and mature for at least 3 months.

Naturally, my triumph at the sloe gin tasting will be blogged extensively in April. I may even make myself an award. A big shiny gold one.

Note: The disastrous results of the sloe gin off are in. Read them and weep over the lost gin.

Tagged with: BritishGinSloe gin

10 Responses to The sloe gin off

  1. Ailsa says:

    I had the first taste of my sloe gin last week after 3 very impatient months – didn’t add anything interesting to it though, I might try that next year!

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      Jealous of your sloe gin drinking! Christmas is the proper time to enjoy sloe gin and I’ve been slow (sloe) off the mark this year. Sure sloe gin will make a fine Easter drink!

      Really lovely to hear from you, though. Hope you have a great Christmas and are going to wow your family with your Ballymaloe expertise!

  2. LexEat! says:

    oh wow! Being Australian, I have only discovered sloe gin very recently.
    I really want to make some! Do you have to have a “contact” to get the berries?

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      Sadly not, although I could try getting Mr B’s mum to head back out into the hedgerows with instructions not to come back without a basketful. Last year I managed to forage sloes in Peckham. Keep your eyes peeled in the park!

  3. Helen says:

    Nice recipe! Well, it looks like a nice recipe anyway and it has the ring of WIN about it. There are shitloads of sloes in Peckham! Well, not any more…

  4. GinJourney says:

    I am lucky enough to live near Dartmoor, in Devon, and sourced my sloes from the same geographic region as Sipsmith does for their sloe gin. I used Tesco gin rather than anything good though.

    My secret ingredients were almond flakes and sliced root ginger. It must be said though, peppercorns, star anise and orange peel sound awesome; I can imagine it taking on a slight port-like quality. I have three litres of the stuff so I could infuse one of the bottles with added extras – I might give that a go.

    • ginandcrumpets says:

      Almond flakes and ginger sound fantastic. I had a sneaky taste of mine today and the orange hint is clearly there but nearly as Cointreauish as I feared. Tempted to bung some more star anise in, though.

  5. […] do with them; I read a smashing-sounding sloe gin recipe over on Gin & Crumpets (you can find it here) that used, amongst other things, star anise and black pepper. They are both fantastic flavours and […]

  6. […] coiffed my hair into wild, white tufts and brewed up a jar of sloe gin that I humbly christened Definitely The Winning Sloe Gin. Mr B did the same, to his own secret recipe, and Leonard and The Enigmatic Mr S used gin leftover […]

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