Sloe Season

Picking sloes on the south coast of Guernsey.

We love a cheeky tipple of sloe gin by a roaring fire in the cooler months. Whether by itself, with bubbly, put in to a cocktail, or even drizzled over vanilla icecream.

And, in our opinion, there is no finer way to spend an autumn Sunday afternoon than picking these little berries. However, time is running out, so this weekend grab a container, stick your wellies on, gather friends and family (after all many hands make light work) and get picking.

Once you harvest your crop, wash the sloes, removing any leaves, bugs and stalks. Forget pricking, instead pop the berries into a freezer bag and freeze for a week, the ice will crack the skins with out losing any of the good stuff.

After freezing, bash with a rolling pin just to loosen up the sloes. Half fill an empty clean Wheadons bottle with sloes. Add around 85grams of caster or granulated sugar then top up with gin, you can use basic gin, however to make a really special batch, use the Wheadon's Mandarin Lime and Hibiscus Gin. 

Place the sealed bottles somewhere cool and dark and now the waiting game begins.. Leave for 8-10 weeks, turning the bottle occasionally, giving it a shake every week. 

Top Tip: Wear an old leather jacket or Barbour to pick your sloes in, blackthorns are seriously sharp!

Written by:

Mat Hailer