About Sloe gin Edit
Wikipedia Article About Sloe gin on Wikipedia
Sloe gin is a red colored liqueur flavored with sloe berries, the fruit of the blackthorn, a relative of the plum. Sloe gin has an alcohol content from between 15 to 30 percent by volume.
The traditional way of making sloe gin is to infuse gin with the berries. Sugar is required to ensure that the sloe juices are extracted from the fruit. Almond flavoring may be added.
To make sloe gin, the sloe berries must be ripe. They are traditionally picked in late October or early November after the first frost of winter. A wide necked jar that can be sealed is needed. Prick each berry and half fill the wide necked jar with the pricked berries. Folklore has it that when making sloe gin, you shouldn't prick the berries with a metal fork, unless it is made of silver, thus conventional wisdom is to use a wooden tooth pick or similar.
For each pint (0.5 litre) of sloes, add 4oz (100g) of caster sugar and fill the jar with gin. Seal the jar and turn it several times to mix, then store the jar in a cool, dark place. Repeat the turning every day for the first two weeks, then each week, until at least three months have passed.
The gin should now be a deep ruby red. Pour off the liqueur and discard the berries (putting them on your compost heap is good as it gives the blackbirds and robins an unusual thrill in the middle of winter - it does not appear to harm them). The liqueur can be filtered, but it is best decanted back into clean containers and left to stand for another week. Careful decanting can then ensure that almost all sediment is eliminated, leaving a clear liqueur.
Made in this way, the alcohol extracts an almond-like essence from the sloes, avoiding the need to add almond essence. Home made sloe gin is a much more complex and subtle drink than that produced commercially, and is well worth the effort. The sweetness can be adjusted to taste at the end, but sufficient sugar is required at the start of the process to ensure full extraction of flavour from the sloes.