10 November 2014

King West

How to make Sloe Gin to keep the hordes happy in the New Year

Henry Spencer’s Slow Gin

Although a little late this year, Henry Spencer from the King West Market Harborough office, has been eagerly awaiting the first frost of the year to hit rural Leicestershire. Finally, last week, we were blessed!

It may sound strange, but Henry is a stickler for not harvesting sloes from the local hedgerows until the first frost has hit. He claims that it adds the sour note to sloes that is distinctive in his sloe gin.

Henry’s sloe gin is legendary in the office and we have managed to convince him to share his recipe with us.

Immediately after the first frost, pick sloes from hedgerows as far away from main roads as possible. Once picked, meticulously wash the sloes, remove any stalks and allow to air dry fully. It is very important not to allow any hedgerow nasties into your gin. Measure the quantity of sloes that you have harvested in pint measures. You need 1 pint of good quality London Dry Gin (Edwards Warner if you want to keep local…) for every pint of sloes.

In a demijohn that has been sterilized, mix one pint of sloes, one pint of your chosen gin and a third of a pint of castor sugar and shake. For the next two weeks, your brew needs to live in the airing cupboard or on a radiator and must be shaken vigorously at least once a day. The warmth helps the sugar to dissolve and the shaking releases the juice from the sloes.

After two weeks, your gin can be bottled and transferred to a dark cupboard and needs to be left for a further 6 to 10 weeks. Henry has conducted numerous experiments to compare the taste to length of time in bottle and after 8 weeks, there is no further improvement in depth of flavour of the sloe gin. The longest Henry has kept his sloe gin before opening is 16 weeks. Let us know if yours lasts longer.

So, it’s as simple as that. See you in the hedgerows!

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