Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sloe Gin.......

I've been watching the sloes for weeks, and it's been bugging the hell out of me as they haven't been ripening consistently because of the slightly weird weather.

My first mission, I managed to pick 5lb 9oz's, which, according to the recipe I found on the net, was a little over what was needed (the recipe suggested 1 pint of gin, to 1lb of sloes, to 8oz of sugar...... optional cloves, cinnamon, almond extract).

As it was more fruit than needed, I just thought "what the hell", but with just the gin and fruit in a 1 gallon demi-john, there was no room for the sugar.

So, what to do? Well my only option is to make it in my 5 gallon (5 US gallons/19 litre) jar. I just decided that I'd make a larger quantity instead.

With that in mind, I went out a second time to pick fruit but only managed to get about 1lb 8oz's before it got dark (actually also because where I went, most of the Blackthorn was on a bank that I couldn't get up to get too any more fruit than that).

So today, I went to a different place. It's on the side of a busy main A road, but there was a place I could park my car about 500 metre's up the road and the actual bushes where about 2 or 3 metre's from the road. When I got there, I couldn't believe my luck. The bushes where absolutely heaving. So I just "picked away" until I found that the plastic carrier bag I was using was cutting into my wrist. I've ended up with another 8lb 4oz's. Excellent.

I haven't used "paid for" gin. A friend bought me some cheap Polish vodka when he went home last and I've just bought commercial gin flavouring to mix with that (it makes very good gin).

Apart from the first batch of the fruit, which is still in a 1 gallon demi-john with it's gin, all the rest of the fruit is freezing down, as the "freeze/thaw" method is far less laborious than trying to prick the skin of each and every sloe for the spirit to get at the sloe flesh. Tomorrow, I'll just put it all in a bucket, I'll add the rest of the gin to defrost the fruit enough so it's not in a big lump when it comes out the freezer, then I'll use a funnel to get it all into the 5 gallon jar. Only then will I add the sugar, which I'm intending to add at a rate of 4oz's per pint. How sweet I want it, well that's gonna depend on how it turns out. It's easy to add more sugar if it's not sweet enough but it's a bastard to get it out again.......

{edit}Ok, so I've added the picture for you to see. It's only just been mixed. I've given it a single shake (and not a particularly vigorous one though). You should be able to make out the layers i.e. the remnants of the 3lb of sugar added (equates to 4oz per pint of gin), then the lighter looking sloes, which are the ones that have been in gin for about a fortnight (in a 1 gallon demi-john), ontop of that are the sloes that I picked, washed/rinsed and froze yesterday and finally, the layer of both the older gin from a fortnight ago and the 4.5 litres that have been added this morning (Sunday, October 4th).

I've situated a torch/flashlight, behind it so you can get some idea of how the colour from the fruit develops. The gin from the 1 gallon DJ was a beautifully dark maroon in colour, and it doesn't seem to have been diluted too much by the addition of this mornings 4.5 litres of gin. I hope that you can see enough of the colour showing through the liquid to get some idea.

I haven't added any of the optional spices at this stage as I'm still thinking about how much and which ones to use, though I suspect I'll add a single clove (powerful little buggers...... as my efforts at making Joe's Ancient Orange Spiced Mead have shown), plus I'm not sure about the cinnamon as the pack I have is from India, and is actual pieces of bark, not like the ones that the Schwartz spice company produce, all nicely curled up into little "tubes". I don't want to use too much as I'm aiming at a hint of flavour, and don't want to over power it (all the effort I've gone too so far, and it would be a complete pain in the arse to fuck it up......).{/edit}


1 comment:

Marek said...

Next time make a blackthorn melomel.