It's time to make sloe gin...the ultimate winter tipple!

Dare we talk about Christmas...? No? Ok we won't. But we will talk about our favourite Christmas tipple: Sloe Gin! And this year the lovely little sloe berries have ripened early!

Sloe berries on a brance

A lot of people wait for the first frost of the the year to pick their sloes, however this year the sloes are ready early so get picking! While the berries are usually ripe for picking in October or November, an excess of rain and low temperatures uncommon for the season have caused the sloes to start fruiting early.

TOP TIP: if you can pop the berries easily between your finger and thumb, they're ripe.

It's around two months to Christmas so no time to be 'sloe' ...sorry.

Sloe Gin

Ingredients: 

450g/1lb sloes
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 litre/1¾ pint gin

sloe gin

Image: Jamie Oliver

Method:

1. Put the sloes in a large jar.
2. Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal tightly and shake well.
3. Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for at least two months.
4. Strain the sloe gin through muslin into a clean bottle.
5. Light a fire sit back and sip.