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
2.8L Boxer Gin
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)
1. Harvest Sloes when ripe
2. Freeze Sloes for 24 hors (this breaks the skin and means you don’t 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.