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Season of the Sloe

Autumn has definitely arrived - the season of mists, mellow fruitfulness, and of course, sloes.


Contrary to what many people believe it's very easy to make sloe gin and even the most novice gin-smith can create the perfect sloe gin at home (without even having to brave the thorny wilds of the countryside hedgerows).

The key, as ever, is the best ingredients - great juniper forward gin and ripe juicy sloe berries.

It is important to harvest sloes when they are ripe - you don't have to pick them at first frost, you simply need to make sure they're plump and soft. Early autumn is an ideal time to harvest the sloes. A 21st Century hack - is to buy them on Ebay.  Where foragers from across the UK pretty much pick to order.

Boxer Gin supply in a 2.8L Boxer Gin Eco Pouch, a good amount of gin to get you started once you've sourced your sloes. The following recipe will create 4 bottles of distinctly superior sloe gin

 

Ingredients 

2.8L  Boxer Gin

1.5kg Sloes 

500g Golden Caster Sugar

2 Tablespoons Apricot Kernels (which gives the sloe gin wonderful hints of bitter almond- optional)

Golden Syrup, to taste (50 - 300ml) 

 

Method

1. Harvest Sloes when ripe

2. Freeze Sloes for 24 hors (this breaks the skin and means you dont have to prick each individual berry)

3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil - then plunge the sloes into the water to scald the skins and nix any bacteria.  Drain after 10 seconds.

4. In a wide mouth lidded 3L jar place half the frozen sloes and half the caster sugar and a tablespoon of apricot kernels and pour over 1.4L of Boxer Gin.

5. Leave for two to three months, in a cool, dark place turning the jar a couple of times

6. Strain the sloe gin through muslin cloth or coffee filter and add golden syrup a little at a time until it reaches your perfect sweetness. 

The sloe gin is now ready to bottle and drink. It's important to note that it will improve over time.