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  • FIRST POST
    • Former MSE Andrea
    • By Former MSE Andrea 9th Oct 15, 12:19 PM
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    Former MSE Andrea
    Sloe gin tips please!
    • #1
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:19 PM
    Sloe gin tips please! 9th Oct 15 at 12:19 PM
    Guess what I'm making!

    My girls and I picked a load of sloes a few weeks ago.

    At least we think they're sloes. They're the right size, around the size of your little finger nail - and several facebook friends said they look like sloes.

    But I'm concerned people I've spoken to and other threads here on the Forum have said the bushes are spikey. The ones we picked from weren't spikey at all!

    I've read a few places that said they could be bullaces but those look a bit bigger, closer to plum sized. At least they're definitely not poisonous (fingers crossed)!

    Anyway, I've heard all sorts of queries about how long to have them in the freezer to simulate a frost (it was before the first frost), how often to turn the bottles, sugar first or last etc etc.

    If you've made it before can you post and let me know what worked for you please?

    I'm planning to do a taste comparison Dealshunter blog on it in early December and it would be great to link to some of your tips.

    Here are the other forum threads I found...

    Are the new sloes ready? & bitter sloe gin from last year?

    Sloe gin..GIN!

    On a go sloe, with sloes!

    Is it a damson or a sloe?
    Could you do with a Money Makeover?


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Page 1
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 9th Oct 15, 12:21 PM
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    PasturesNew
    • #2
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:21 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:21 PM
    Never had it, it's a middle-class aspirational activity, for smug people
    • beetlebug1
    • By beetlebug1 9th Oct 15, 12:42 PM
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    beetlebug1
    • #3
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:42 PM
    • #3
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:42 PM
    Hi I've been making it for years and I'm not middle class

    1/3 sloes
    1/3 sugar
    1/3 gin

    Give it a shake every couple of day. Leave it as long as you want. You can add a bit more sugar or gin depending on taste. I also add a few drops of almond extract before bottling.

    I would have a taste of your Berries. Sloes are bitter bullace are sweeter and taste like damsons
    • torbrex
    • By torbrex 9th Oct 15, 12:43 PM
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    torbrex
    • #4
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:43 PM
    • #4
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:43 PM
    Recipe for Sloe Gin from 1901:
    Using a 2 gallon jar, add 1 gallon of gin, 3 quarts of sloes, 2 and a half pounds of lump sugar and half an ounce of bitter almonds.
    lay it by for 3 months taking care to shake it 2 or 3 times a week.
    Strain and bottle it making sure the bottles are sealed carefully.

    Sloe wine on the other hand is for medicinal use only.
    It is made by steeping the sloes in water and letting them stand therin until a thick coating of mildew is formed on the surface. This is removed and the liquor is then strained and bottled.

    No more than half a wine glassful should be taken at any one time to be used in the treatment of diarrhoea.
    • Islandmaid
    • By Islandmaid 9th Oct 15, 12:47 PM
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    Islandmaid
    • #5
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:47 PM
    • #5
    • 9th Oct 15, 12:47 PM
    I do the same as beetle bug

    It should be drinkable by Christmas, but do leave some for next year as it 'matures'.

    Make sure you drink it with a smug expression, or its all for nought x
    Note to self - STOP SPENDING MONEY !!

    £200/£185
    • MrsLurcherwalker
    • By MrsLurcherwalker 9th Oct 15, 1:14 PM
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    MrsLurcherwalker
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 15, 1:14 PM
    • #6
    • 9th Oct 15, 1:14 PM
    If they're bigger than sloes but the same colour they might be wild plums but any of the hedgerow fruit like sloes/bullaces/wild plums/damsons will still make a good brew for Christmas. My daughter made some very acceptable wild plum vodka a couple of years ago, same recipe 1/3rd of each of fruit sugar and spirit and top up with Vodka at the end if needed and give it a good shake. The plums/damsons make a very nice pud with some cream/ice cream when you take the liquid off too, so very OS and no waste. Sloes are not quite so good as pudding though!
    You've always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself!

    Ours is not to wonder what is fair in life but finding what may be, make it up fair to our needs.
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 9th Oct 15, 6:02 PM
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    LameWolf
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 15, 6:02 PM
    • #7
    • 9th Oct 15, 6:02 PM
    A wee tip re pricking them - most books say puncture them several times with a darning needle; I use a staple extractor, which puts 4 holes in the sloe in one hit, so you only need to do each one once - saves a lot of time and frustration!
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • Mirů
    • By Mirů 9th Oct 15, 6:18 PM
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    Mirů
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 15, 6:18 PM
    • #8
    • 9th Oct 15, 6:18 PM
    If they're bigger than sloes but the same colour they might be wild plums but any of the hedgerow fruit like sloes/bullaces/wild plums/damsons will still make a good brew for Christmas. My daughter made some very acceptable wild plum vodka a couple of years ago, same recipe 1/3rd of each of fruit sugar and spirit and top up with Vodka at the end if needed and give it a good shake. The plums/damsons make a very nice pud with some cream/ice cream when you take the liquid off too, so very OS and no waste. Sloes are not quite so good as pudding though!
    Originally posted by MrsLurcherwalker

    A couple of years ago I came across a recipe for using up the boozy sloes to make jam. It was quite nice.....now if only I could find it again....
    Remember how far you have come not how far you have to go
    • gsymoo
    • By gsymoo 9th Oct 15, 7:33 PM
    • 133 Posts
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    gsymoo
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 15, 7:33 PM
    • #9
    • 9th Oct 15, 7:33 PM
    I made some sloe gin last week. I'd made it once before but didn't realise my mum still had the bottle - its 25 years old! I even wrote the date on the bottle September 1990. Its like liquer - really lovely and almost sticky. Dont think I'll be able to leave this bottle for 25 years though!
    • PlymouthMaid
    • By PlymouthMaid 9th Oct 15, 7:40 PM
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    PlymouthMaid
    I have mine in freezer now and will make it when I can afford some more gin -I just agitate mine daily when passing and don't usually bother pricking them as freezing seems to break the skins a bit anyway. Last year, after decanting the gin from the sloes, I poured some red wine over them and left them again fro 2 months and it was lovely.
    "'Cause it's a bittersweet symphony, this life
    Try to make ends meet
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    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 9th Oct 15, 7:53 PM
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    PasturesNew
    Make sure you drink it with a smug expression, or its all for nought x
    Originally posted by Islandmaid
    While warming yourself by the glow of the Aga (or at least the glossy brochure for them).
    • Drachenfach
    • By Drachenfach 9th Oct 15, 11:05 PM
    • 139 Posts
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    Drachenfach
    My sloes are in the freezer. It's been wet and mild here recently and I was worried they'd mildew before the first frost. I shan't bother pricking them as they've been frozen.

    Remember to pick them over before bottling to remove errant foliage and the odd earwig.

    I find it easiest to make the gin in a couple of large jars and then decant it once it's ready. Posting sloes one at a time through the neck of a gin bottle gets old quickly.
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 10th Oct 15, 5:05 PM
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    LameWolf
    Posting sloes one at a time through the neck of a gin bottle gets old quickly.
    Originally posted by Drachenfach
    Agreed; a demijohn and a jam funnel is the way we do it.
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • beedeedee
    • By beedeedee 10th Oct 15, 7:44 PM
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    beedeedee
    Large coffee jars do it for me......!
    • force ten
    • By force ten 26th Oct 15, 10:10 PM
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    force ten
    Anyway, I've heard all sorts of queries about how long to have them in the freezer to simulate a frost (it was before the first frost), how often to turn the bottles, sugar first or last etc etc.

    If you've made it before can you post and let me know what worked for you please?
    Originally posted by MSE Andrea
    they say to pick your sloe berries after the first frost and the reason for that is more about leaving them on the bush until they are fully ripened, by putting them in the freezer you will simulate the first frost but it will not help fully ripening the sloe berries

    the large commercial producers freeze sloes because they are ready in october/november and they need to preserve them to extend the sloe gin producing season

    the other thing is the large volume producers freeze the sloes and then put the frozen sloes in a container and pour over the gin and this is supposed to shock the sloes and cause them to split

    I use 500G of sloe berries 250G of caster sugar and one litre of gin, it is best to leave the sloes in the gin for at least four months and if possible as long as six months, strain and decant the sloe gin and then a few days later filter again through coffee filters and decant again and then leave for around six months in the bottle to mature

    good sloe gin is not something for the impatient, sloe gin made now will be at its best for christmas 2016
    • force ten
    • By force ten 26th Oct 15, 10:24 PM
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    force ten
    the question was asked about what a blackthorn bush is like

    about-ireland/blackthorn-bushes

    the first image on that page shows what the blackthorn bush looks like at this time of year when the leaves have started to drop, earlier in the season the bush in full leaf it will hide the thorns but you will know they are there when you pick the sloes

    it is best if you can leave the sloes on the bush until fully ripened and when you pick the sloe a gentle squeeze should see the sloe split, if the sloe is still hard then it is not fully ripened
    • LameWolf
    • By LameWolf 27th Oct 15, 3:49 PM
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    LameWolf
    it is best if you can leave the sloes on the bush until fully ripened and when you pick the sloe a gentle squeeze should see the sloe split, if the sloe is still hard then it is not fully ripened
    Originally posted by force ten
    Where I used to live, it was a fine line between leaving them to ripen, so that they were at their best, and finding them all gone because Sara at Number 9 got there first!
    LameWolf
    If your dog thinks you're the best, don't seek a second opinion.
    • force ten
    • By force ten 27th Oct 15, 6:33 PM
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    force ten


    that is the last of my sloes picked and packed for the freezer where they will remain until christmas and then i will make my third batch of 2015 sloe gin, when i decant the first batch made it will free up the kilner jars i will start a batch that i will leave until christmas 2016

    start at christmas leave the sloes in the gin for six months and then decant and leave in the bottles until christmas 2016
    • force ten
    • By force ten 27th Oct 15, 6:39 PM
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    • 1,193 Thanks
    force ten
    Where I used to live, it was a fine line between leaving them to ripen, so that they were at their best, and finding them all gone because Sara at Number 9 got there first!
    Originally posted by LameWolf
    that can be a problem in a popular spot you have to pick them early or miss out

    The place that i went picking today still has loads of sloe berries going to waste on the bush now the leaves are starting to drop the berries are shriveling on the bush

    that is about eight pounds of sloes i have picked this year
    • Former MSE Andrea
    • By Former MSE Andrea 7th Dec 15, 11:48 AM
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    Former MSE Andrea
    How's everyone's going?

    I'm decanting mine this week ready for a taste test in the office on Thursday! I don't think I'll be short on volunteers

    I will be leaving some to store for next Christmas too - I'm looking forward to seeing how much better it is a year on
    Could you do with a Money Makeover?


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