It’s autumn – that means it’s sloe gin time

The nice things about autumn: sausage and mash, crumble and custard, and sloe gin. (note: why haven’t I made any crumble yet?)

Sloe gin is a bit like “spring lamb” – you can’t actually have it at the right time without some preparation. Lambs are born in spring, but we don’t eat the cute gambolly frolicky little things, we wait a few months until they’ve got some meat on them, by which point they are spring lambs but it is no longer spring. Similarly, you are supposed to wait until after the first frost to pick sloes, but if you do that it won’t be infused by Christmas.

Grey skies and purple sloes

I’m afraid I don’t have a coherent narrative for you today – I don’t even have any gin so this can’t be a How to make sloe gin masterclass. It’ll just have to be a “what I did this afternoon. This started with picking sloes (see above).

I also saw these, but didn't know what they were so didn't pick them

Then I got home and realised that I am ginless. Well, not truly ginless (no need to send emergency supplies) but not possessed of any gin that I would sacrifice to the sloe gods.

Lots of sloes, but no gin

So there was no making of sloe gin. Happily I realised that I had some mature sloe gin in some wine bottles that had been made with last year’s crop, so I could at least do some decanting and, more importantly, some drinking.

This colour looks done

You may be wondering how exactly I have sloe gin from last year that hasn’t been drunk yet. I wondered that a little myself. I think the key is in two parts. 1: I made loads last year. 2: I forgot about these bottles completely during spring and summer.

An adhoc filtation system

Here we have a jug, a sieve, and a plastic coffee filter from the coffee machine. Making sloe gin in used screwcap wine bottles has the advantage that a lot of the sloes stay in the bottle. Well, I think it’s an advantage because it’s easier to pour and you can just chuck the bottle of sloes away. If you’re worried about dividing rubbish into recyclable (bottle) and compostable (sloes, maybe) then you might not think it an advantage

Ready to drink

After filtering the lovely purple gin goes into bottles – one an old lemonade bottle and the other an old water bottle. Reusing bottles makes up for not being able to recycle the wine bottles, right?

On the subject of bottles, I’d just like you to compare the lemonade bottle above, £2.44 from Waitrose, with the bottle below.

This one is £3.95 from John Lewis

One final job before we’re done – testing the product.

I'm holding this against a white door so you can see the colour

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8 thoughts on “It’s autumn – that means it’s sloe gin time

    • There were loads on the bushes that we went to – last year we got them in September so I was worried someone else would have taken them all but it looks like no-one had touched them at all.

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