Sloe Gin/Vodka

Any number of recipes out there – just waiting for the tasting. I went for heavy on the sloes, and light on the sugar.

It is traditional NOT to reveal the secret spot where you found your sloes. So no e-bay link 🙂

I like my rhubarb tart and lively on the tongue, and wanted the same with Sloe Gin/Vodka. I like Sipsmith’s advice; rather than add the sugar at the beginning, add it as a syrup AFTER the maceration so that you get the taste you want.

Today’s bottling (and tasting) session confirms that advice. Please excuse typos and spelling mistakes.


  • 750ml gin or vodka
  • 500g/1lb sloes
  • 350g/12oz sugar (1½ cups)


  • Wash the sloes, spread out on a baking tray, and pop into the freezer at least overnight. [Saves the labour of pricking each one with a pin; and eliminates the effort of tracking down the silver pin required by myth.]
  • Next day, put the sloes into a large sterilised jar(s), and pour over the gin or vodka.
  • Store somewhere cool and dark. Shake every other couple of days for a week, then perhaps once a week for …. the longer the better. Three months minimum.

  • On bottling-up day, make a syrup with the sugar. 1½ cups sugar to ½ cup water (a 3:1 ratio). Warm the sugar and water until the sugar has dissolved – no longer. Allow to cool.
  • Drain the macerated sloe spirit through a muslin cloth into a large bowl. Add sugar syrup to your taste, mix well, and pour into clean, sterilised bottles.
  • Cap/cork and store – for as long as you can avoid drinking it.

My first shot, started mid-October and bottled now in mid-February, is (and I know I say it myself) beautiful. Delicately coloured, tart and fresh on the tongue, and quite delicious. Apparently, the longer you store it, the mellower and better it grows. I don’t know yet, and I can not see me ever finding out.

And then there’s …. this to get a second flush of flavour from the alcohol-sodden sloes.

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