Monday, 17 May 2010

Slow Sloe

In a secret place in the Devon countryside near our home there is a very prolific blackthorn bush that towards the end of summer produces great big fat sloes.  For all but one of the last four years (when some b*****r beat us to it) it has been the source of the main ingredient of our drink shelf staple.

The procedure for making this heavenly nectar goes like this. 1. Early one morning,  go and buy embarrassingly amounts of supermarket own brand gin and try (probably unsuccessfully) to persuade the checkout staff that you are not an alcoholic.  2.  Wander out into the countryside with an artisan wicker basket if you're posh or a couple of carrier bags if you're not, and pick your sloes  Unlike blackberries do not be tempted to eat them as they are horribly bitter.  3. Put the sloes in the freezer and leave for a few days.  This will split their skins and save you the mindnumbing task of having to prick them to release their juices individually by hand.  4. Find something like a big sweet jar or kilner jar and add sloes, sugar and gin in the following quantitites.  For each 1lb of sloes add 8oz sugar and 1 litre of gin.  Save the bottles for the final product. Seal 4. For the first couple of weeks shake daily and then whenever you remember for the next six months when the mixture is ready to strain and drink.

Our August 2009 batch is now ready to drink and the result is a fine demonstration of the maxim 'Good things come to those who wait'.  And like wine, if we can keep our filthy mitts off, it will improve over time.  Sante!

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