Taking things Sloe
So other than being super busy at Teasmith HQ with the usual gin graft, we have also been making the ultimate Autumn/Winter warmer; sloe gin. If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen the last 3 months of 'Sloe School,' where we have been combing the local area for sloe berries to create a sloe gin liqueur for Christmas. We have had lots of lovely feedback on Sloe School and we hope we can inspire more of you to make your own Sloe Gin Liqueur. Anybody can make sloe gin and we are going to 'sloe you how.'
When it comes to gin, we need a Sloe hand
Prunus spinosa, more commonly known as blackthorn or sloe, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family. So when Shakespeare said "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet," we think he meant, "taste as sweet" and that he'd been sipping sloe gin.
Just like The Teasmith, Sloe berries really come into their own at this time of year. We have been watching them with a fine eye over the last couple of months, eagerly waiting for them to be ready for picking. And now that they finally are (squidgy, soft, deep purple), our liqueur is well on its way to becoming a Christmas treat. And because sharing is caring, please see the below instructions on how you can create your own Sloe Gin Liqueur this Autumn.
The most important part of making sloe gin is to find yourself a local supplier (a bush). Sloe berries can be found in abundance all over the countryside. They grow on thorny bushes so it is important that you are careful when picking. You'll know when the berries are ready by their colour and texture. They should be deep purple and will feel squidgy and relatively soft. This is the perfect time to pick. You will need between 300 and 400 grams for one litre of liqueur. But please do bear in mind that these berries aren't just for gin drinkers, they also feed the local wildlife. So don't pick more than a third of the bush. How would you like it if somebody pinched your supper?
Sloe and Steady
Once you've returned home from the great forage, you're going to need to tidy those berries up. This can be quite a sloe process (these puns though). Remove all of the twigs, leaves, and beasties from the berries and give them a good wash under cold water. Resist the urge to nibble as you work, your gin will thank you later.
The berries then need to be pricked to split the skin. Some people freeze the berries for a couple of days to split the skin. But we do it the good old-fashioned way, with a little bit of elbow grease. Plus, you'll enjoy the sloe gin SO much more if you've put in the time. Once all the berries are pricked, pop them into a Kilner jar because guess what? It's gin time baby!
Our favourite part. We don't suggest using a high-end gin for your sloe gin liqueur because you're not going to get the full flavour of the gin once it's mixed with the sloe berries. A middle of the range litre of supermarket gin will do nicely. We suggest this Tesco London Dry gin. Lastly, pop 200 grams of granulated sugar into the jar and voila, you have yourself the makings of a great sloe gin liqueur for Christmas. In order to get the perfect taste, you're going to need a little bit of patience. The jar must be stored in a cool, dry place for the next 2-3 months in order for it to be ready in time for Christmas. Give the jar a shake every week or so, and open the lid for a second to let out the build-up of gas within the jar.
Sloe Gin Liqueur
We will be keeping you all up to date with Sloe School on Instagram so if you're not already following us, why wait? We will be showing you the finished article and how best to serve it. So, if you want to avoid a beastly case of FOMO, we suggest getting started on your sloe gin today.