We have had a ground frost twice this last week. And some patient soul has been out gathering sloes. I found them in the farm shop and, feeling I should have got out and picked them myself I dithered, and then gave in. You are supposed to wait until after the first frost to collect sloes, the fruit of the blackthorn, but sometimes the frost comes late and the birds get them all, so luck is on our side this year.
I had it in mind to make sloe gin, which is what you do, but I don’t really like gin. And then I came across a little presentation in the farm shop from Godminster, who make vintage organic cheddar in Bruton,
I love the Godminster cheddar, with its rich purple wax coat, and recently I had some of their absolutely stunning horseradish flavoured vodka, which is glorious in a Bloody Mary. They started making the vodkas with bought-in spirit to use up some of the fruits and vegetables that grow on their organic farm, and the range now includes cucumber (a star in Pimms), elderflower, the horseradish, and the more traditional blackcurrant as well as sloe. Next year they are going to do rhubarb and ginger. Taking on the Scandinavians from
So this is my sloe vodka.
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 bottle vodka
Prick the skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle and put in a large sterilised jar.
Pour in the sugar and the vodka, seal tightly and shake well.
Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for two months. The sugar will slowly dissolve and the sloe vodka will turn a beautiful dark red and be ready to drink.
Decant into clean bottles.
Just in time for Christmas I think!