This weekend David and I took a break from DIY and headed out of London to the beautiful East Sussex countryside. I love living in London and would not choose to live anywhere else right now, but every now and again it is really nice to escape the city, put your wellies on and go for a nice walk in the country. It is good for your mind, it is good for your body and it is really good for your soul.
We strolled through fields, climbed over styles and trudged through muddy woodlands, all the while admiring the views and breathing in the fresh air.
We stopped off here for a bite to eat and warmed our toes by the open fire.
Reheated and refuelled we set out in search of sloes, the real purpose of our excursion. We were cutting it fine, sloe season is October to the beginning of November, so it was our last opportunity for sloes this year.
We were lucky and found them in abundance! It did not take us long to fill a carry bag full.
How to make sloe gin:
1. Remove any stalks or leaves from the sloes and give them a really good wash.
2. With a needle prick each sloe in several places then plop them into a sterilised bottle. You can put the sloes in a bag and freeze them overnight. This splits the skins so you do not need to prick them, but I much prefer the pricking method as there is something quite therapeutic about it! You will need about 400g of sloes per litre bottle.
3. Pour in 200g of sugar.
4. Top up the bottle with gin until full, it will take about 500ml of gin. Give it a good shake for about one minute.
5. Store the bottle horizontally in a cool, dark place and once a week give the bottle a quick turn. This helps to distribute the colour evenly and you will notice the liquid turning a deep ruby red.
The trick with sloe gin is patience, the longer you leave it better it will be. I would say a minimum of three months, but if you are really patient and wait until next Christmas, it will taste like heaven!