Sloe gin (or damson vodka) recipe

This sloe gin or damson vodka recipe can be adapted to the fruit you have to hand. Damsons left after the vodka is strained are perfect to eat with ice cream or yogurt.

This makes a perfect Christmas gift, made a few months in advance and tied with a ribbon or delivered in a box. You could even present it with some homemade cheese crackers, or chocolate truffles.

Makes about 3¼ cups (800ml)

  • 1lb (450g) sloes or damsons
  • 3 cups (750ml) vodka or gin
  • About 12½oz (350g) caster sugar

Remove stems from the fruits and prick with a fork to break the skins. If you're doing a large batch, freeze overnight to break the skins instead.

Place the fruit in a large, sterilised preserving jar (sterilise it in a very hot dishwasher, or boil it in a pan of water for 10 minutes) with the alcohol and sugar.

If you prefer a tarter drink, add less sugar (9oz/250g). You can always add more at the re-bottling stage, once you have tasted it.

Close the jar tightly and store in a dark place for two to three months, ideally turning it every few days until the sugar dissolves.

Strain off the alcohol and pour into warm, dry, sterilised bottles. Seal, label and date. The contents will keep for years.

This recipe features on p323 of Sarah's Garden Cookbook.

For a more summery drink, try Sarah's Rhubarb and Ginger Vodka Recipe.