Riverside Organic is basically in the middle of nowhere near my school and we drive past it every day. Last week the Year 8s were visiting the farm for their annual Geography field trip and I was rather enthused when my colleague Iain told me that one of the trainee teachers who had come along to the trip had purchased a large amount of sloe berries in order to make sloe gin.
Mentioning this to Bailey, we agreed that it would be a splendid idea to get hold of some of these sloe berries to make our own batch of sloe gin to give out as Christmas presents. We thought a little bottle of homemade sloe gin in your stocking would be enough to bring a smile to the face of even the most scrooge-like of people.
So, we stopped off at Riverside on Saturday and had a coffee and a breakfast sarnie each in their café which was rather pleasant, if a little overpriced, before picking up a few bits in their gorgeous farm shop, including a lovely big bag of sloe berries, an absolute bargain at about 70 pence!
Back at home yesterday, after having got my hands on the required ingredients I made a nice big bottle of sloe gin which is now happily steeping in our dresser right in time for Christmas.
Making the sloe gin was super easy - the only thing that was a bit annoying was having to individually prick each and every sloe berry with a pin which was quite time consuming and I did actually prick myself a few times.
I'm sure the results will be totally worth it and it will be really great to give out a home made gift to our nearest and dearest, that is if we don't find it so delicious that we drink it all up ourselves.
Now that the sloe gin is safely stashed away, we just need to wait for it to steep before completing the next stage of the process which is straining the gin through a muslin cloth which I have ordered off eBay. Can't wait to do that, I'm sure it will be lots of fun! Until then I will have to make do with a little nosy here and there and maybe a little cheeky sniff every now and again to see how it's coming along!
470g sloe berries
1 litre of gin
Get a 2 litre drinks bottle and make sure it's all nicely cleaned out. Wash the berries well and try to get rid of any leaves.
Prick each berry several times with a pin. This can take ages but I got a pretty good system going where I could do two or three berries at once with one push of the pin by feeding it through the flesh of the berry like you would a needle through fabric. Pretty nifty. Add the berries to the bottom of the bottle.
Stick a funnel in the top of the bottle.
Pour the sugar into the funnel so it mixes in with the berries in the bottle.
Pour the gin into bottle via the funnel also.
Put the lid on the bottle and give it all a really good shake.
Put the bottle into a dark cupboard for ages so it steeps. We will be leaving ours until December so a good two and a bit months. For the first week of that time, shake it every day. After that, shake it once a week.
We will keep you updated with how this goes... In December we're going to strain the gin through a muslin. Results TBC, watch this space!