Does anyone make sloe gin?

There are a few foods we like to prep. ourselves including sloe gin, and today we have just been out harvesting berries in the wilds of Oxfordshire. While visiting a house in Pamproux (near Niort) back in October I saw a few berries on a bush, but very little. So I wondered if anyone makes it, or if the berries simply aren’t available in sufficient quantity in most of France?

We have two small blackthorn bushes in our back garden. There is also a large hedge of blackthorn about 40 minutes walk from the house. I’ve always fancied doing sloe gin but never got round to it.
Maybe I should give it a try :thinking:

What are skies in French?

DEFINITELY. There’s lots of recipes, but the one I use involves filling a bottle about 80% full of berries that have been washed and then each given a cut through the skin. Add about 25g sugar for each 25CL of bottle (so a wine bottle gets 75g/3oz sugar - this makes it a little sweet, but lets some tartness through) and then fill the bottle to the top with gin. Turn daily for first 2 weeks, then leave somewhere dark and cool for as long as you can bear, minimum 3 months. Drain gin from berries, leave to stand a few weeks & then rack off sediment. Again leave as long as you can - the gin is drinkable after racking, but much nicer after 1 year, better after 2. :slight_smile:


Les ciels. ???

We’ve not made sloe gin in France, but we still have supplies we made in UK and brought over with us.

sloe gin 1996
sloe brandy 1997

they should be ready to be drunk by now… :rofl: :rofl:



Mediocre crop this year, but I’m hugely lazy so can’t be bothered to prick them individually so just chuck them in the freezer for a couple of weeks. They’ll burst naturally.

Other years I use damsons/bullace which are also good. In fact have just made a boozy tiramisu with the alcohol soaked fruit having just finished last year’s bottle…


My ex husband always made sloe gin (he also made jars and jars of pickled Challottes…!)

As I remember he half filled empty wine bottles with pricked berries an indeterminate amount of sugar and topped up with gin…I can’t remember that any bottles were left to mature…

My dad used to make home made wine my favourite of which (when I was old enough to be allowed) was dandelion and also elderberry…)

He had all the kit and a rotation system that would see many of his specialities mature in the under stairs cupboard for several years and then opened on special occasions…:grinning:


We make some every year usually in October so that it’s ready for Christmas, our recipe - freeze the berries so that they split, add defined quantities of sugar and cheap gin, fill several glass jars and leave for several weeks giving the jars a turn regularly so that the sugar dissolves fully and finally strain the juice into the empty gin bottles ready for drinking. Ideally we like to leave it to ‘mature’ for a year but that is down to annual consumption. :wink:

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OH used demijohns for the sloes each year… which was an easy way to make a bulk batch.

Sterilized bottles were later filled with the precious nectar…

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Must confess, never thought about freezing the fruit back in the 80/90s … we just had a frenzied stabbing session… :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


How about making sloe vodka? Seeing as gin is made from vodka?

make anything you like, I would think.

After carefully decanting the sloe gin into sterilized bottles… we added really rough spanish brandy to the demijohns of already drunken sloes… hic… and left the mix to moulder…

I can report that the resulting beverage is absolutely wonderful… and now… I’m seriously thinking about opening our few surviving bottles… well, one of them…

I’m so happy someone started this thread… :rofl: :rofl: :+1:


I asked as I like the taste of gin, that is with normal tonic not as some of the fashion statement types around. Unless the juniper adds to the finished sloe gin maybe cut out the middleman and just buy vodka?

I remember my 1st holiday to Spain and we tried lots of different brandies, some burnt on their way down some waited a second or two and burnt on the way back up hahaha

Frankly, the finished alcohol product tastes nothing like the original… whatever alcohol you use. (that’s my experience, anyway)

We used rough Spanish brandy as an experiment, rather than simply discard the sloes… and were delighted with the results, so that became a firm favourite…

Plus the rough stuff was cheaper than the smooth stuff, so made economic sense.


Yep having made it to Spain in our student days, it was a wonder we didn’t go blind hahaha

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My first experience of Spain… rough brandy poured liberally into my glass… no measurement… yummy… then “oh good grief” as my throat caught fire and my head exploded… :rofl: :rofl:


Another vote for freezing the sloes instead of the traditional “prick the berries with a thorn from the same bush” malarkey.

It is spirit based and being bottled it will not improve with age.

I suppose it depends on where you live. In my old house, we had about 30m of blackthorn hedge, with fruit yields that varied pretty much dependent on rainfall and subsequent early or late frost.

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