MAKING SPICED SLOE GIN September 30 2018

In the autumn I love to pick plump, purple sloes (Prunus spinosa) from the hedgerows & make aromatic spiced sloe gin. I make it during September & October & leave it to steep so that it’ll be ready in time for Christmas - decanted into pretty glass bottles it makes a gorgeous festive gift for family & friends. I’ve tried & tested many recipes & to date this is my favourite. I add pink peppercorns & cinnamon sticks for a delicious hint of spice - a perfect winter warmer to sip on the long dark nights ahead.

If you’d like to give it a try, here’s the recipe & method:

You will need: 500g sloes, 250g sugar, 1 litre gin, 1tbs pink peppercorns, half a cinnamon stick, 2 litre kilner jar

  1. Carefully rinse the sloes, pat them dry & freeze for 24 hours
  2. Put the sloes, sugar, peppercorns, cinnamon & gin into the jar
  3. Leave to steep in a cool dark place for around 3 months, gently shaking the jar every few days
  4. When it’s ready, strain the gin though a clean muslin cloth & decant into sterilized bottles
  5. The gin will keep for years & the longer you leave it the better it will get
  6. If you don’t have sloes to hand, damsons or blackberries also work brilliantly

This spiced sloe gin is delicious served neat with a bowl of tangerines & nuts to nibble on - ideally on a cold winters night next to a roaring fire!

I adore the traditions & processes of pickling & preserving & I love to watch the alchemy of the deep rich red-purple pigment of the sloes seep out into the clear gin. So for the first few days after making, I keep it on the worktop in my kitchen to admire - before tucking it into the cupboard under my stairs to let time work its magic.

My passion for pickling & preserving fresh fruits & vegetables is the inspiration for my ‘Pickles & Preserves’ gouache painting which is part of my Vintage Kitchen Collection. This design makes a lovely gift for a foodie friend (or for the kitchen) & is available to buy online as signed art prints & greeting cards from:

That’s all for this month.

Thank you for reading.