How to make the perfect cocktail || Sloe Gin

Nothing shouts Autumn like a brisk woodland walk in your wellies, enjoying the crisp air and last of the warm sunshine. The perfect time for fat pumpkins, odd shaped squash and an abundance of Autumn berries – most especially sloes!

Pick them now whilst they’re ripe, and pop them in a bottle of gin with some sugar, and you’ll have the perfect tipple once winter draws in around Christmas time – plus it makes a fantastic homemade present if you’re stuck for ideas!


Sloe Gin


  • Sloe Berries (often found on wild bushes, they look a little bit like rounder blueberries, but careful you pick the right thing) – you’ll need enough to half fill however many bottles you choose.
  • A good quality gin – crap gin = crap sloe gin, so use a decent one and it will be delicious!
  • 4 tbsps caster sugar (at least!)


A sloe is ripe when you can pop the berries easily between your fingers so pick them straight from the bush and into a bowl/bag/pockets…whatever you may have at the time, depending on how prepared you are. There’s a lot of debate about the best time to pick a sloe, but as long as they’re ripe, you can’t really go wrong.

Once you’re home, give them a wash and a pat dry, then pop them in the freezer overnight – most people will tell you that sloes are the sweetest after the first frost – this simulates that process and also splits the skins evenly once in the gin

In a steralised airtight bottle, pop the frozen berries in one by one until at least half full, top with gin and about 4 tbsps caster sugar. shake up so the sugar becomes incorporated.

About every other day, turn the bottle a few times, you’ll notice before long that the gin becomes coloured by the berries.

Sloe gin takes at least 2-3 months to mature, so leave it until Christmas to open, but it also keeps for a lot longer after that and will only get better with age – if you’ve got enough berries, make some for next year or even the year after and it’ll be delicious!

When you come to try your gin, if it’s not sweet enough, you can add a dash of sugar syrup (sugar and water gently heated then cooled).

Serve in small quantities (think sherry or port glasses) and sip to drink, or make a longer drink with lemonade or tonic.

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