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sloe and damson drinks

having collected all those damsons, plus a smaller amount of sloes, i had a blitz in the kitchen to make sure it was all put to good use. the ice cream you already know about. i also made a batch of damson and bay jam (based on this plum version).

however, the bulk of the fruit has been smothered with booze and i’m now waiting for it to mature – there is sloe gin, damson and orange gin (pictured) and damson vodka.

at the moment david and i have a daily ritual of shaking the jars to encourage the final amounts of sugar to dissolve and the fruit to give up all its flavour. it’ll be a couple of months before we can start drinking any of it but given the fruit is available now, if you want to make your own batch you’d better get a move on.

recipes for each are below. to avoid having to prick each individual fruit,  just put it in the freezer overnight as this will encourage the skins to split and the flavours to emerge. you’ll need to sterilise some jars/bottles before you get started and then it’s a simple matter of filling the jars according to the quantities below, storing them in a dark place but shaking them daily for a week and then weekly for 2-3 months. you can then strain out the fruit (the sloes will need to be discarded (update: apparently not - see the comments section) but the damsons can be cooked with or added to sherry, to make damson sherry) and rebottle your drinks.

sloe gin:450g sloes, 225g caster sugar and 1 litre of gin

damson and orange gin: 500g damsons, 4 strips of orange peel, 125g caster sugar and 1 litre of gin

damson vodka: 500g damsons, 125g caster sugar and 1 litre of vodka  

Reader Comments (5)

I made some sloe gin on Monday but keep forgetting to shake it!
September 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
you can use the sloes in sherry too, or in flapjacks,or they are delicious dipped in choclate. for fantastic results leave your fruit in the gin / vodka for up to a year, and then leave it another year before you drink it (absolutely amazing).
September 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNikki
thanks for the sloe tips nikki - i've updated the post. i don't think i'll be able to wait a couple of years before tucking in though!

sarah - i've learnt from previous years to keep the jars out so i am reminded to keep shaking!
September 17, 2011 | Registered Commenterabby
the trick is to make twice as much as you need so you can drink some and leave some for two years!
September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNikki
Lovely! Sadly our sloe gin is not to be this year; when we went to our usual spot to pick we found someone had practically destroyed the trees. They're unlikely to recover sufficiently even for next year. Just had to stick to making up some blackberry brandy (made the same way & delicious in sparkling wine). Luckily my Dad at the other end of the country has a surfeit of sloes & he'll make up the shortfall left by some inconsiderate Londoner!
September 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRuth

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