I had so much to write but it all comes down to two things: I love gin and sloe gin is just enough faff to make it feel special.

If you leave picking your sloes until after the first frost as it traditional somebody will have nabbed all the best ones. So long as the sloes are ripe just get them picked and pop them in the freezer. The freezing process helps to break down cellular membranes and thus release the flavour and colour. If you’re in any doubt about what to pick grab a copy of the excellent Food For Free by Richard Mabey. I was late getting mine this year but was shown to a great stash.

Wear long sleeves when picking, blackthorn deserves it’s name.

You will need

  • Sloes, picked ripe and frozen. Picked over for leaves and stems
  • Gin (a litre per 500g of sloes), ideally an export or navy strength
  • Sugar 200g per 500g of sloes


  1. Mix in a sterile glass container and make air tight.
  2. Wait 3 months, stirring ever week or so. Store in a dark place.
  3. Strain carefully and bottle.


Tell you in three months.

Picking through the frozen sloes.  Cat "helping" One of my most beloved objects