Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Nice and sloe


We had a great weekend seeing friends and being outside, trying to cram in as much of the last of the summer's sunshine as possible. I know from reading other blogs recently that I'm not alone in noticing the approach of Autumn. You can smell it in the air and, whilst we're enjoying these last few days of summer there is no denying that things are changing.
I always think that September is a bittersweet month, it marks the end of summer and lazy days with the children but it also brings with it the excitement of something new, fresh and exciting.

Once I've recovered from the shorter evenings (which for me is the hardest of the changes) and Autumn has finally taken hold, I do feel strangely refreshed and excited by things. After the gloom of the children returning to school and before the grey gloom of a British winter, there are those few weeks of being able to go out and enjoy the changes. Long walks in the countryside, good books to read, a change of clothes, something good to watch on TV (fingers crossed) and the planning of Christmas (!) which at this stage of the year, before the frantic shopping and mass consumerism of December, is still enjoyable ( and I know I won't be talking like this in a couple of months time!).



One of the things that always marks the ending of Summer and beginning of Autumn is our annual trek onto the Downs to pick sloes for sloe gin, which makes the perfect pressie for Christmas. At the end of the holidays we were out walking and found that the sloes were not nearly as abundant as usual. Emma was that you? Either someone had got there before us or it hasn't been a particularly good year. We usually pick them a few weeks from now after the first frost but we realised that if we waited any longer there would have been none left to pick. Don't be tempted by their beautiful bluish tinge to pop one into your mouth, they taste disgusting!


It really is very easy to make sloe gin. For every 1lb (450g) of sloes you pick, you need 4oz (100g) sugar and a bottle of gin, plus a few drops of almond essence (optional). Remove stalks from sloes and wash them. Prick each sloe with a darning needle (the kids love doing this and have not yet ended up with fingers resembling pin cushions). If you can't be bothered to prick them and a mountain of sloes does look quite daunting - just stick them in the freezer overnight or for a few days and they should burst by themselves.

Put the sloes into a large-necked screw top jar(s) and add sugar and almond essence if using. Fill the bottle with gin (no need to use an expensive brand), screw the lid back on and place in a cupboard for about three months (Or until Christmas is fine). Shake the jars every once in a while and you'll notice the sloes infusing the gin with their gorgeous colour. At the end of this time, strain the sloes and liquid through muslin and pour into pretty bottles. Easy! The hardest part is waiting ...


It really is a gorgeous drink, warming and rounded. It doesn't taste of gin at all. Worth making just for the colour and remember to make an extra bottle to keep for yourself!

36 comments:

Country Cottage Chic said...

The colour of your sloe gin is just gorgeous!

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

OK, now my ignorance will surface: I don't drink, and I always thought a "slow gin fizz" was an American drink into which you poured the gin slowly into the glass! hahahahahaha Now from reading your blog (and I think one other), I've learned the "slow" is actually "sloe" and is a berry! Now I bury my head in the sand...

Rubyred said...

What an interesting post, I have heard of sloe gin but never knew what the berries looked like.It sounds lovely!

cd&m said...

I adore sloe gin and yes we usually pick them a little later than this but if it's been a poor season best we get out there pretty swiftly and get some. Thanks for the tip off.

mollycupcakes said...

Hmm! that sounds very yummy, thanks sweetie another recipe for me to try.

Catherine x

Tea Time and Roses said...

Wow this all new to me... sloe, is actually a berry! Live and learn...

Smile...

Beverly :o)

Heather ~ Pretty Petals said...

Looks so yummy and I wouldn't have thought that it would be so easy to make??!

The picture of the horse is beautiful!

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

Mmmnnn sounds gorgeous-I must try it! But your vintage scales are even more gorgeous! xx

Kat-in-a-flap. said...

I'm with Sophie on the scales,they are gorgeous........My grandmother made Sloe Gin but kept her recipe a secret,I must try this myself,if I can find some Sloes
It looks like the perfect relaxer to me.
Kat xxxxx

andsewtosleep said...

Hi Kim
my husband and boys went foraging (on the common)for wood stocks for our burner at the weekend and came back with blackberries. This time I'll request Sloes!
Mary

Miles Away In France said...

I have been wondering how to make slow Gin for ages, thanks for posting the recipe.
It is a lovely colour in your bottle.
Racheal x

Brenda said...

Im a nut too! I thought it was slow gin hehe.This looks like our blue berries.Is it the same?

OhSoVintage said...

I've thought about making sloe gin eah time I see sloes in the hedgerows but then the thought of pouring a whole bottle of gin in with other ingredients that I may not like anything like as much as a G & T puts me off the idea!

Ali said...

My mother makes it every year - it's a highlight of my Christmas presents!

Thimbleanna said...

So that's what a sloe looks like! Look how you're educating us 'Mercans. That was fascinating -- thanks for taking the time to write about it!

Twinkle Pink said...

That looks lovely and I've just gotta try it!

I agree about September although we seem to be having our summer right now:)

best wishes Ginny

meggie said...

I have never heard of sloes before! What strange looking fruit they are, like a blue plum.
You can just pick them at will? They must grow wild I guess.
Very pretty product at the end of the process.

Paula Sealey said...

Wow, we have sloes all over the place here and I've never known what to do with them. Thanks for the fab recipe. I might have to wait until next year to try it though as my cupboards are full of jam, lol!

Rowan said...

Sloe gin is great stuff isn't ? I saw sloes in Norfolk last week and they were abundant and large so maybe it depends on the weather conditions in various parts of the country. I haven't looked for any round here yet as they are supposed to be better after a frost. Hawthorn berries, crab apples and viburnum are all prolific this year but the rowans don't seem as good as usual. It's certainly perfect autumn weather for wandering down a country lane looking for them all.

Nonnie said...

Hi Kim

I've just written a post on a really similar theme with even an almost identical picture of sloes! Great minds obviously think alike! I need to go and buy some gin so I can get on with the making. I'm lazy and put my sloes in the freezer to split them. It is a delicious drink though isn't it. Mum and Dad usually make plenty but I only made one bottle last year which wasn't nearly enough! Definitely making more this year.

Suzie Sews said...

What a perfect post, you describe the change of the season perectly. As for the sloes, my favourit
Suzie Sews

Reflections from the Stone Nest said...

Wow does that sound good! I don't drink much, but the color alone makes me want to try it! Happy Autumn!

Kitty

Tracy said...

Sloe gin...so delicious *SIGH* I've often felt that the new year should begin about now, fall, September...there's such change, excitement, new beginnings, farewells, etc. I wonder who decided January would be good for the new year--LOL! Happy Day ((HUGS))

Mary said...

Love the gin and damson gin too

Heidi said...

How fun that you are now planning for Christmas. It makes it so much more relaxed when December is here and we are prepared. You can sit down with a favorite holiday book or film and relax then. I have never had sloe gin but it does look so pretty in that glass. Can a drink look pretty??? :-)

Leanne said...

I make it too, but as I dont like gin, I use vodka instead. it makes a wonderful christmas/yule drink, and the sloe berries are just so beautiful, arent they?

Curlew Country said...

What a fabulous colour. I've not seen many sloes around us but I'm certainly going to keep my eyes out for them. Thanks for the recepie, great idea and I know just the place to buy those lovely old fashioned bottles from too. Really enjoyed reading your Autumn post. Bittersweet describes the season perfectly.
Stephx

Threadsand Bobbins said...

I have not made sloe gin for as long as I can remember but perhaps after reading your lovely post I will this year. It would make a great christmas gift. Jan

Alison said...

Yum!!!! It always reminds me of Christmas as my gran always saved a treasured bottle for Christmas day.
Take care,
Alison x

Alison said...

Yes it is safe now:-) My head has been all over the place but I have FINALLY decided on my new blog title.
Alison x

ShabbyInTheCity said...

I'm with Beachy...but what a pretty drink you made! I love the color so the taste must be good.
I'm with you on the excitement over autumn!!! The best season of all for me :)

Amanda said...

Wow it looks wonderful and I don't even like alcohol LOL so for me to say that is really something hehe!!

Louise said...

Wow I never knew what sloe gin was. It looks delicious. I love watching the change of seasons via blogs as each season evokes different feelings. We are heading into Spring and everything is feeling fresh and new again - it's very uplifting. Loved your hearts and all the yummy sweeties - we too do a bit of a Friday thing!

Victoria May Plum said...

Looks lovely, I shall try and make some this weekend. (although I usually cheat and buy some really nice sloe gin from the farm shop at Heligan).

We have lots of Damsons in our garden, so I might try and make something out of them!

Have a great weekend
Victoria x

Suzie Sews said...

OK since reading your post the in is waiting for the sloes...now where else can I walk to find them? When you want them you just can not get them. Still we are having fun looking....
Suzie Sews

The Ginger Darlings said...

So, outside my studio window there are sharp thorn bushes. Blackthorn, covered in deep purple ripe fruits. I have 2 bottles of bombay saphire and some sugar and some flakes of almonds that add a subtle edge to the gin. Maybe, just maybe, instead of sitting inside the studio photographing the birds that visit the birdfeeders threaded through the headge, I will get out and pick and prick and put them in gin to soak so that soon I can lie by the fire, covered in sap and sip.
Thanks
Jackie and the Gingercats