How to make sloe gin from dry sloe berries

Think it’s too late to get a bottle or two of sloe gin sorted for Christmas gifts? Think again!

While sloe berries came and went early this year thanks to a hot, sunny summer, you can still get your hands on dried berries – and, despite what the naysayers think, it’s totally possible to make sloe gin with them.

Fresh sloe berries

Here’s how:

What You Need: 

500g dried sloe berries
250g caster sugar
200ml hot water
750ml good, but inexpensive, gin (definitely don’t use your 58 for this!)
One or two clear bottles, sterilised

A pile of dried sloe berries

What You Do:

 1. Start off by making sure all of your ingredients and equipment are clean and sterilised. Boil your bottles in hot water, and wash your dried sloes repeatedly until the water runs completely still. Great – you’re ready to get started!
2. Rehydrate your sloes by soaking them for several hours in warm water. You want just enough water to make the berries plump and glossy; keep any residual water, and definitely don’t use gin. Prick the skin of as many of the rehydrated berries as you possibly can. While this isn’t necessary with fresh berries, rehydrated sloes need a little help releasing their flavour. 
3. Pop the sloes and the rehydrating water into your bottle and pour in the caster sugar. Then add the gin and seal, shaking well. Store your bottle in a cool, dark place, shaking every other day for the first week. Then, shake once a week for at least eight weeks – though twelve is better. Enjoy over ice in the summer or in a wintry cocktail come the new year.