Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by David G, Sep 13, 2020 at 10:45 AM.

  1. David G

    David G Gardener

    Jun 4, 2005
    Hi All

    Are these Sloe berries I am hoping to make Sloe Gin . Would rather not poison the family .
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    • NigelJ

      NigelJ Total Gardener

      Jan 31, 2012
      Mad Scientist
      Paignton Devon
      @David G
      Not sure they're sloes probably bullace (wild plums). Sloes, blackthorn have absolutely lethal thorns on them and I cannot see any in your picture and the stems are generally blacker. The two do hybridize and all make excellent gins.
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      • Graham B

        Graham B Gardener

        May 19, 2018
        They probably are sloes. They aren't poisonous whatever they are, so you can always check.

        The easy way is to pick one. Sloes have translucent greenish flesh. The most distinctive part for a sloe though is its astringency - it dries your mouth right up.

        A few things for sloe gin making though. I once did a boozy science experiment with a *lot* of variations of how to make it, so I had proper back to back test results. I had at least a dozen bottles with different variations. Dedication to the cause...:biggrin:

        First off, wait until after the first frost. Some people have misinterpreted this as needing to freeze the fruit, and that's not the reason. What happens when frosts hit is that the plant sucks tannins out of the fruit to use itself. The fruit becomes sweeter as a result, which is good for your gin. This obviously needs to happen with the berries still on the bush.

        Piercing the berries. Don't bother - it doesn't make any difference.

        Gin. Use the cheap stuff. I tested back to back with the cheapest bottle from Tesco and Bombay Sapphire, and I really couldn't tell.

        Sugar. You can add more or less of this to taste. You need brown sugar though - Demerara or at least golden caster. White sugar just doesn't taste as good.

        And add flaked almonds (not toasted flaked though). This is the surprising one. Just a very little almond flavour acts as a seasoning which lifts the flavour of the drink.

        For proportions, there are plenty of recipes online. I'd suggest using a little less sugar to start with, because you can add more later if you think it needs it.

        So just wait for the cold weather and then go for it!

        I can also highly recommend blackberry brandy - same recipe, but with blackberries and brandy (and without almonds). The blackberries now aren't quite as tasty as earlier in the year, but they should do the job. It tastes like vintage port, but with the strength of brandy. Very good stuff.

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