Now the autumnal fruits are well on their way it’s time to start thinking of some Christmas brews that take a while to develop. While the Hawthorn tree is producing some nice berries for jams etc. see http://www.theoutdoorlab.com/2010/09/hawthorn-jelly-and-apple-mustard-glazed.html
Its bushy spiky cousin the blackthorn is producing the sloes. This is just a traditional sloe gin with a spicy twist. First prick the sloes all over with a sharp fork or needle and place in a large sealable jar. Pour in the sugar and spices and gin. Seal the jar and shake well. Store in a dark place and shake once a week for 2-3 months. When it’s ready strain the sloes and store the sloe gin in a sterilised bottle.
Ingredients: sloes, bottle of gin, sugar to taste (100-200g see below), crushed cinnamon stick, a few cloves and a pinch of nutmeg. Leave for 2-3 months. Enjoy.
100- 200g/8oz caster sugar depending on how sweet you want it
1 litre/1¾ pint gin