Sloe Gin

When Mary asked me if I wanted to go with her to make sloe gin I didn’t have a clue what was involved or exactly how far *up the hill* really was. For that matter – I had heard of sloe gin once or twice before – and thought it was spelled “slow” which might give you an indication of exactly how clueless I am. I had no idea that blackthorn berries were the source.

This is leaving aside the whole issue of gin. I can’t begin to understand why anyone would ever have thought about fermenting juniper berries, much less drinking the resultant mess. What is even scarier is that the ratio of drinkers seems to be heavily weighted to the female gender.

Back to the sloe. Mary’s friend Caroline went sloe picking. Apparently these berries turn ripe late in the fall and have to be promptly harvested in order to beat out both the birds and neighbors who would equally have designs on the harvest.

Looking at them – they strongly resemble blue berries. If they are eatable in this raw state I haven’t a clue. Washed,

bowl of Blackthorne berries


and ready to go – the alchemy starts.

First you pick them with pins.

to let out the juice

Then toss them into a sterilised bottle.

into the bottle

Next comes the proper amount of sugar

followed by filling the bottle with gin.

If you want sloe brandy – substitute brandy for gin.

cork the bottles, put on a home generated fancy label and you are ready to tuck them away till finished.

I obviously left long before the gin was ready to drink.

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