Sloe Gin recipes and help required

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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
Actually there is cyanide compounds in the stones of many wild fruit including members of the prunus family
 

badgeringtim

Nomad
May 26, 2008
480
0
cambridge
for my tuppenys worth;

Dont wait for the first frost - it makes little to know difference to the flavour (although may speed the rate of exchange as some cells are broken when it freezes) or just freeze em overnight.
Pricking with a pin is time consuming but i find leaves you with a liqour requiring less straining and with less sludgy at the bottom (although i use this in trifle and its very good).
While cheap booze i reckon is ok you can taste the difference, also if you use cheap they tend to be 35% not 40% so you have 5% less room for juice, you need the booze to stay high enough ABV to preserve it all.

The measurements i have been using for a while now are by eye (since the fruit flavour is so variable having constant measurements is unnesesairy in my book)

I add a small amount of sugar to the sloes enough to dust them while shaken - leave this for a day or 2 shaking, it pulls a lot of juice out. Then just cover with booze and shake reguularly. Taste it after a couple months, i leave adding more sugar till right at the end as it can be easy to put to much in.

Right im off-a picking!

:)
 

badgeringtim

Nomad
May 26, 2008
480
0
cambridge
Oh yes stones - contain cyanide, all of the prunus family does, damson, cherry plum, etc etc
If you sit stones in liquor or crack them and add the kernels you get something that tasted of disserano. Very nice, although always been worried as to how much would be bad for you.
Actually i used the stoned from cherries used to make cherry jam and reckon the heating actually allowed the liberation of more of the almond flavour, getting 2 bites of the cherry you might say - which i particularly liked!
 
My turn to add my ten cents!

I foraged for my sloes today. I have a few top tips:

Don’t go out on a cold day with wet hair (today was warm so that was ok);
Take the dog and walk far till dog tired (saves her bothering me while I’m in the kitchen);
If you leave your forage for as late in the season as possible, the sloes improve and the nettles around the trees die back. These sloes are so sweet you can eat them off the tree (just!);
Wear long trousers for the nettles that are still hanging in there;
Use a berry comb like one on RM’s website (saves a proper scratching and is dead quick);
Take tea;
Take a bag to carry the dog home in.
"EDIT" Must mention that taking a set of cheap, pocket fishing scales out with you is a good idea to weigh your fruit. You don't under collect or take more than your fair share depriving the wildlife or the tree's self-seeding chances.

This year I’ve left it late to see if I get any improvement in the berries’ sugar (fructose?) content. The sloes really have shrunk down and some even have spilt a little. I’m not worried: that’s what wine farmers leave their grapes to do for dessert wines and sauternes. I’ve used mainly soft brown sugar as I’m not a fan of the refined stuff. And finally as an experiment I’ve used just over 2l of cheap gin to which I have added almonds, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and juniper berries. I’m keen to try this spicier mix as the plan is to leave it for next year’s Yuletide feasting and drinking.

Here’s my “Thumb-suck” recipe:

About 2kg of sloes
3 x 70cl bottles of cheap gin
600g of soft brown sugar
200g white sugar
4 almonds
2 cinnamon sticks (snapped in half)
4 allspice berries
8 juniper berries

I’ve frozen the berries to split them, dissolved the sugar in the gin and added the spices and left that over-night while the sloes split. Then the whole lot goes in together and is left in a dark cupboard next to the dog’s food so I remember to “shoogle” it all up (cheers Toddy). The whole lot fits in a demi john.

Cross fingers for 2011.....hc
 
Last edited:

Tadpole

Full Member
Nov 12, 2005
2,842
20
56
Bristol
These sloes are so sweet you can eat them off the tree (just!);
I think if your sloes are sweet enough to eat, they're not sloes, they may be bullaces. Six years of trying and sloes, even when they are so ripe they start to rot, are never sweet enough to eat. Sorry, they still work, and just need less sugar. MHO
 
I think if your sloes are sweet enough to eat, they're not sloes, they may be bullaces. Six years of trying and sloes, even when they are so ripe they start to rot, are never sweet enough to eat. Sorry, they still work, and just need less sugar. MHO
Good to flag this up as it's an interesting ID pointer. The ones I got were definitely Prunus spinosa, not P. domestica which is very similar but doesn't have thorns. Maybe it's my palate that can handle the bitterness later in the season. It's my hands that can't handle the thorns which can make my work interesting sometimes :)
 

lannyman8

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 18, 2009
4,005
2
Dark side of the Moon
when i do mine i fill a wine bottle 1/4 to 1/3 os sloes put in any 3 table spoons of sugar and top up with booze, shake every so often for 2-3 months min. but best to leave it for up to a year......

chris................
 

MartiniDave

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Aug 29, 2003
2,286
62
58
Cambridgeshire
Just picked my sloes for this year. I've noticed quite a lot of them are starting to split on the bush, also quite a lot are shrivelling up like sultanas, so I daren't wait for a frost on them.
I'm trying one bottle with brown sugar this year to see if it makes any difference - I'll let you know in about 12 weeks!

Dave.
 

jimjolli

Tenderfoot
Jun 27, 2008
74
0
london
Great thread.

I all for keeping the sloe gin simple - just sloes, sugar and gin.
I froze my sloes to mimic the first frosts and then cut a slit in them all. The wire brush technique will definitely be used next season.
Somebody mentioned using a berry picker like the one found on the RM website. I was thinking of getting one, are these any good? If you use them to pick softer berries do they just squash the berries? Don't they just collect as much other stuff (twigs & leaves etc) as they do fruit?

Also, what I'm interested in is what to do with the sloes after the gin has been drunk?? I'm loving the idea of 'slider' as mentioned by tadpole in post 9. Any other ideas?

Jim
 

iamasmith

Forager
Aug 12, 2009
128
0
London
My turn to add my ten cents!

I foraged for my sloes today. I have a few top tips:

Don’t go out on a cold day with wet hair (today was warm so that was ok);
Take the dog and walk far till dog tired (saves her bothering me while I’m in the kitchen);
If you leave your forage for as late in the season as possible, the sloes improve and the nettles around the trees die back. These sloes are so sweet you can eat them off the tree (just!);
Wear long trousers for the nettles that are still hanging in there;
Use a berry comb like one on RM’s website (saves a proper scratching and is dead quick);
Take tea;
Take a bag to carry the dog home in.
"EDIT" Must mention that taking a set of cheap, pocket fishing scales out with you is a good idea to weigh your fruit. You don't under collect or take more than your fair share depriving the wildlife or the tree's self-seeding chances.

This year I’ve left it late to see if I get any improvement in the berries’ sugar (fructose?) content. The sloes really have shrunk down and some even have spilt a little. I’m not worried: that’s what wine farmers leave their grapes to do for dessert wines and sauternes. I’ve used mainly soft brown sugar as I’m not a fan of the refined stuff. And finally as an experiment I’ve used just over 2l of cheap gin to which I have added almonds, cinnamon sticks, allspice berries and juniper berries. I’m keen to try this spicier mix as the plan is to leave it for next year’s Yuletide feasting and drinking.

Here’s my “Thumb-suck” recipe:

About 2kg of sloes
3 x 70cl bottles of cheap gin
600g of soft brown sugar
200g white sugar
4 almonds
2 cinnamon sticks (snapped in half)
4 allspice berries
8 juniper berries

I’ve frozen the berries to split them, dissolved the sugar in the gin and added the spices and left that over-night while the sloes split. Then the whole lot goes in together and is left in a dark cupboard next to the dog’s food so I remember to “shoogle” it all up (cheers Toddy). The whole lot fits in a demi john.

Cross fingers for 2011.....hc
Now that sounds like a nice recipe :)

I was somewhat disappointed when 'sloe gin help required' wasn't about not being able to finish it though :D
 
Great thread.

I all for keeping the sloe gin simple - just sloes, sugar and gin.
...
Somebody mentioned using a berry picker like the one found on the RM website. I was thinking of getting one, are these any good? If you use them to pick softer berries do they just squash the berries? Don't they just collect as much other stuff (twigs & leaves etc) as they do fruit?...
Hi Jim. I'm a real fan of the scandinavian berry picker that you can get on RM's site. There are loads of other sites too though. I use mine for haws and sloes and even with soft, very ripe fruit they don't get mashed. I still hand pick blackberries as bramble seems to stagger the ripenening of the fruit. The combs on the berry picker are an exagerated, elongated "U" shape so there aren't any points to puncture the fruit. In Scandanavia they use them for the softer, higher altitude, cold weather fruit like cloud berries and my assumption is that if they pick the fruit without damage, that is why they are so popular.

Really you should be picking fruit when it's about to drop off the shrub/tree so they should pop off with ease. They tend to only pick the berries and the leaves and twigs escape capture. Only a few end up in the picker, but so few, it outweighs hand picking them by a mile............hc
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
Bottled mine today


Tinctures by British Red, on Flickr

We have done a variety this year using up our hedgreow growth, including Damson, Sloe, Bullace, Elderberry, and Raspberry (all vodkas of the cheap variety except the raspberry which went into brandy for reasons that escape me). The elderberry was to make a medicinal tincture....and tastes like it :yuck::yuck: even sweetening with honey only made it tolerable.

However, I have never been blessed with a large supply of bullaces before, but bullace vodka with muscavado sugar is fantastic even before maturing!

Thanks to Toddy for the source of bottles for "minitaures". I used about 60 for liberally passing out amongst neighbours and local farmers who have all been very welcoming. The very nice ones (like the one who kept me in vag all year - for free!) get a big bottle :)

Red
 

Linden

Member
Dec 1, 2009
18
0
Hampshire
My bottle has gone a nice red/plum colour, but also has a less nice white-ish scummy residue at the bottom, is this normal? first time I've made it, and not found a mention of this scum (i know it would leave some sort of residue at the bottom!)

only a small bottle, been in about 2 months, with a little bit of muscavado sugar.

Cheers for help!
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,534
404
Mercia
Red whats a medical tincture when its at home? I used your advice to make elderbery vodka and wonder what i have made lol I have a 3 litre jar in the cupboard just ready for emm whatever a medical tincture does lol
Elderberry tinctureis supposed to have antiviral properties JTB. Basically take a teaspoon 4 times a day and it reduces the impact / duration of colds & flu (at least so says the theory). Don't worry too much - the icky face was elderberries in vodka with no sweetness. I added honey because I don't use sugar much in herbal tinctures. For recreational use, it should be quite palatable with sugar added...err....I hope :eek: