Over the week-end, Best Beloved and I discovered some really good sloes. Large, ripe, and with a dusting of 'bloom'. That 'bloom' contains spores of wild yeasts, among other things. Never wash your sloes before processing them - the Gin will kill any nasties! There has been no frost yet, but leaving the fruit on the tree risks losing it. So, into the freezer for a day or so, to mimic the action of the frost ( which converts the sugars).
Wild yeasts, + natural sugars, + added sugars , + Gin = a heady liquer called Sloe Gin. It should be a rich, dark red in colour. A thick, heavy liquid. Have a strong fruity flavour.....and be drunk in moderation from small glasses!
At the moment, it is at the ''shake daily for three weeks'' stage.
24 fluid ounces Gin
12 ounces of ripe sloes
6 ounces white sugar
Use whatever Gin you have, but the cheapest you can find is usually best. The better brands are usually too highly flavoured to allow the sloe flavour through.
Make sure your sloes really are ripe, then 'frost' them in the freezer.
Use white sugar....brown has too strong a flavour, an does not 'feed' the yeast sufficiently.
Prick the sloes and put into a bottle, or a Kilner jar. Pour the sugar in on top. Pour the Gin in over all.Screw ( or clip ) the lid on tight, and give the container a good shake.
Put the container somewhere light, where you will see it constantly, for instance the Kitchen window sill. Shake it daily for three weeks. Then put it away for a month or so.
When the time is up, strain out the sloes, and filter the liquid. ( Coffee filters are excellent). Put the Gin in a clean, labelled bottle.
Leave it until Christmas to try it. If you can leave it for a year, it will be even better.
I have a few bottles of varying Vintages ( ahem....) I call it my 'Ribena'. Friends call it ''Lin's ****** rocket fuel ''. I haven't noticed anyone refusing it, though!