Sloe gin - Merry Berry Workshop 1a

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£40.00 for the first 2L jar of sloe gin and £28.75 for subsequent jars.

What do you need to bring? Nothing.

What will you leave with? 2 litres or more of sloe gin and the knowledge and ability to make perfect batches in the future.

This is a total beginners workshop. We have done all the planning and purchasing for you as well as picking, washing  and freezing the sloes in correct sized batches.

As a family, turn up on the times listed and take a lead wander around the woodland collecting the required amount of sloes, this is to replenish our freezer stocks. When you get back to the woodland gin bar you will find a 500g bag of defrosted sloes which you squeeze to mush in the bag. There will be 2L clip top jars and plenty of sugar. You simply add 300g of sugar to the jar, pour in your 500g of mushed sloes and then top up with gin. We use Aldi gin, you know, the award winning stuff that equals or tops most expensive brands.

When you get home, store you jar or jars in a warm dark place, agitating when you remember. On 20th Dec the contents should be filtered into bottles. A clean jeye cloth in a sieve will work perfectly. Sieve into a clean pan and then using a sterilised funnel pour into sterilised bottles.

*** Tip *** Keep screw topped wine bottles and rinse them. When you want to use them, scald them by pouring boiling water in, screw on the lid, shake around, empty and repeat immediately before transferring your damson gin into it. *** end of tip ***

There will be a little sediment in the bottle still and it will sink to the bottom and you should end up with clear dark purple sloe gin.

Some folk say to keep a bottle aside for next Christmas as it matures in the bottle, most don't make it that long.

A word of warning. Sloes are found everywhere, they are the berry of the blackthorn bush. Sloes from the roadside are most likely heavily polluted with traffic dust. Sloes from less then 2ft above the ground along footpaths are probably polluted with animal urine. Sloes from some field margins may be subject to chemical drift from perfectly appropriate spraying of crops but may not be free enough of the chemical to be edible yet. Most chemicals have a short time from application to harvest but you'll not know when or if spraying has taken place.