Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Getting into the Christmas Spirit...

I am well and truly getting into the Christmas spirit.

Work are having a Christmas fundraiser for a local hospice (a great charity - they looked after D a year ago) and asked for donations, so I thought that instead of sticking in the obligatory bottle of wine and some chocolates to do something a bit different.

I have a few bottles of homemade blackberry vodka chez moi so I thought I'd put them in some nice glass bottles, put on some pretty labels and send in a few bottles for the fundraiser. Of course, it would be a devastating shame to put them in if they weren't ready for drinking or tasted horrible so a little bit of a tasting was called for .. *hic* ... as it happens, they turned out rather well and I'm really quite pleased.

We have a humdinger of a family recipe for sloe gin, which can be adapted to accommodate any liquor and any fruit. Here's the recipe as passed down to me from D:

  • Get about 1 1/2 - 2lb of sloes. The more the better, but for 2 litres of hooch 2lb will do. (Sloes are the fruit of the Blackthorn, and are in the hedgerows in Autumn. Verybitter so don't eat straight off the bush)
  • White sugar, about 1/2 the weight of the sloes.
  • Gin. Lashings of it, as cheap as you like, provided that it IS gin!
  • Empty 2L bottle (Coke, Lemonade etc) Can you guess that I never weigh anything? I simply use my eyes.
  • Wash the sloes, and either sit in front of the TV with a little paring knife and slit the skins or just put the fruit in the freezer. This will split the skins for you and save you some trouble.
  • Place split fruit in bottle. Add sugar. Add gin to near the top. Close bottle and place in dark cupboard.
  • Take it out once a week and shake it.
  • Three months later taste it, just to reassure yourself. Add a little more sugar if you want to. (I have never done so.) Continue to leave it in the cupboard, and to shake it once a week. (Yes, for a year if necessary!)
  • There are those who serve their sloe gin after 3-4 months. I am not one of them, believing that it improves with age in a dark place. I never produce it before 12 months, although I do admit to reassuring myself just occasionally.

So far, I have some sloe gin, blackberry vodka, blueberry vodka and blueberry gin. I have plans to expand but I'm currently experimenting and I'll let you know how it goes. Until then ... seasons greetings and all that.

Be well.


Anonymous said...

So, that sloe gin... will it need tasting when I come to visit?! Teehee, just kidding. My Mum does a mean sloe gin every Christmas too - must get her recipe some time and give it a go! xx

ElementalGrace said...

Might have just polished off the sloe gin *blush* ... but starting a new batch soon but could some blueberry vodka work for you?