Now we have the first frost it is the perfect time to pick Sloes from the Blackthorn bushes and make Sloe Gin that will be ready in time for Christmas. The Blackthorn is a spiny, thorny bush that has delicate white blossoms in Spring and shiny black Sloes from October onwards. Sloes are a good source of Vitamin C, and you can make a tea from Sloe blossoms that is also laxative. You make a tea from the leaves, add honey and it will soothe a sore throat. The flowers themselves are edible and taste similar to almonds – you can pop them in salads of freeze them in ice cubes.
This is probably the best known use of the Sloe and is surprisingly easy to make. To make a regular 70cl bottle you will need;
- 450g Sloes – washed and dried – if you are harvesting before the frost – freeze them first (this makes their skin pop allowing the juice to escape)
- 350g granulated white sugar
- 70cl bottle of Gin (or Vodka)
- 2 x Almonds (Optional)
Share the above evenly across two bottles, seal the bottles and leave in a cool, dark place for around 2-3 months shaking them occasionally. I serve mine with the Sloes still in the bottle, but you can decant into one bottle if you want a less ‘home made’ look. Best served with ice!