Fancy sipping some homemade Sloe Vodka this Christmas?
It’s such an easy tipple to make.
It is also a wonderful homemade foodie gift to give to your favourite people.
This homemade Sloe Vodka is growing my stash of homegrown booze a treat!
My blackberry flavoured vodka is still in the brewing phase, although it is now ready to strain (and taste test!).
And whilst our blackcurrants were an epic failure this year, I did still manage to lay down one lonely bottle of my homemade blackcurrant cassis for the darker months.
And what’s even better, you seem to all love my alcohol-based recipes too, I can’t think why?!
Homemade Sloe Vodka
There’s something very olde worlde about cracking open a bottle of a hedgerow brew that you picked yourself to share with loved ones on a cold winters night.
It’s a fruity, warming tipple that is so smooth taste.
And because you’re adding sugar and fruit, you can get away with using a cheap supermarket brand of vodka.
It’ll all mellow together into a rich and syrupy liqueur.
And the best bit is, the recipe simply couldn’t be any easier!
Sloe Vodka Traditions
By the way, it’s tradition (at least in my house!) to keep the best bottle from each batch, somewhere dusty and forgotten.
Consider this your ‘forager tax’ and have no guilt in keeping it all to yourself if you so choose!
We tend to polish this last, dusty bottle off as we work on preparing next years batch. I highly recommend making this your tradition too!
So, get your wellies on and hit the hedgerows.
When should you pick sloes?
Some folk say that you should only pick sloes after the first frost.
As I live here in Cornwall (UK) where the climate tends to be quite mild, the sloe harvest is almost over by the time that comes around.
The other option is to pick them and freeze them before using them.
A quick check of the internet as to why this is recommended tells me that one theory is that it softens the skin which then splits and allows the juices to come out. The other is that freezing sloes makes their flesh sweeter.
Where do sloes grow?
When you’re foraging for wild sloes, you’re looking for blackthorn bushes.
Here in the UK blackthorn are a traditional hedgerow tree and are pretty easy to spot at this time of year.
They have vicious inch-long spikes on the branches.
And clusters of small black fruit.
Sloes are part of the plum family, so inside that black skin with a whitish bloom, you’ll find an orangey-yellow flesh and a single flatish stone.
They are sharp and quite unpleasant to taste.
They definitely need sugar to make them palatable!
This is what you’re looking for in the hedgerow:
You may choose not to forage those wrinkly imperfect fruits, but I gather them all.
Or at least all that I can reach.
3 simple steps to a sloe vodka recipe
I almost feel like I’m cheating when a recipe is this simple!
On getting your stash home, wash them well and dry in a clean tea towel.
If you are picking before the first frost, you will need to prick or slash the skin.
Thereby allowing the alcohol and fruit flesh to mingle and work their magic.
Then combine your wild sloes with vodka and sugar in a jar.
Store them for about a month.
Next, simply strain and store in sterilised bottles where they will sit happily until you can bear to break into your stash!
Here’s a link to a video I made showing just how easy it is forage for wild sloes and make this delicious sloe vodka.
Freeze and/or prick the sloes to allow the juice out. Pile into one (or more) sterilised glass jars.
Tip in the sugar, pour in the vodka and stir a little.
Pop the lid on tightly and store somewhere cool and dark, stirring/shaking occasionally.
After 2-4 weeks, strain off the vodka and seal in sterilised bottles. The alcohol content means that it will keep indefinitely.