What could be better, on a freezing December evening, than a lesson in how to make sloe gin – and how to create beautiful, warming and delicious sloe gin cocktails too? Even long autumn walks in crackling orange leaves whilst picking sloes can’t beat the excitement of learning how to create beautiful flavours with the product of those dark, juicy berries.
In case you haven’t heard of this traditional winter beverage, sloe gin is gin flavoured with sloes, the berries of the blackthorn bush. Usually, it takes weeks and weeks of sugaring, shaking and stirring to allow the sloes to steep in the gin, but last week I learned a much faster way.
My tour of the azure-glowing underground wonderland of Bombay Sapphire began with a refreshing Sloeberry Fizz cockail, a fruity, spicy and delightfully fizzy little number, perfect for party-starting over the festive season.
We were led down one of the maze of passages to an underground bar for our sloe gin lesson. This method is much faster than the traditional method of three months in a Kilner jar and it produces a bit of a lighter texture and flavour – you will need a dishwasher though.
So here’s how to make sloe gin the quick way:
1. Wait for the first frost then pick your sloes.
2. Prick with a silver fork or a spike from the bush and freeze.
3. Drink your litre bottle of Bombay Sapphire down to the level of Queen Victoria’s head.
4. Add 450g of sloes (thaw them if frozen) and 200g caster sugar.
5. Screw the cap on very tightly
6. Put the whole thing in the dishwasher for a couple of cycles (about 3 hours in total)
7. Sieve and return to the bottle
8. Make cocktails!
Then came the cocktail demonstration which was quite spectacular, with seven different sloe gin cocktails for us to taste. Tomorrow I’ll share with you a recipe for a Sapphire Sloe Berry Flip.