You have time to collect the last sloes and make some wonderful warming liqeure drink in time for Christmas, and its really simple.
Dont be put off if you dont like the taste of plain gin, sloe gin tastes nothing like it.
First pick some sloes, fruit of the blackthorn bush, Picking late, in October means the sloes will reach their maximum ripeness - and flavour.
Sloes picked late rarely need pricking with a pin this is usually done to the early collected ones August,early September which are very hard and will produce a dryer sloe gin.
You will need.....
1 lb or 2 of Sloes, depending on how much you want to make.
Gather and wash your sloes remove any stems,leaves, and badly squashed fruit.
Turn out on an old clean towel or similiar to dry, (sloe juice will stain clothing).
1. Fill your bottle with sloes to half way up the main body of the bottle.
2. Pop a funnel in the neck of the bottle, and pour in enough sugar to come to the top of the sloes level.
3. Fill the bottle to the top with Gin.
4. Screw on the Lid
5. Give the bottle a shake to get the sugar disolving.
Turn the bottle up and back gently a couple of times,just once a day, for a week with the later ripe fruits.
((2/3 weeks with the early(as they are more resistant))
Then after that just once a week for the next few months.
A week or two before Christmas, Strain your sloe gin through a coffee filter into a clean bottle.
You can now taste the decanted Sloe Gin, Keep or store to Christmas or beyond.
There are recipes on the internet to use the decanted fruit waste too, but only with the late ripe gathered fruit, the early is far too dry.
Note; If like Jen you live somewhere that doesn't have sloe bushes,
You could always this quickie Recipe by trying flavoured vodkas, a Polish Favourite.
One Lemon or orange peel, The coloured zest part only, none of the white pith. Popped into vodka to seep away for 24hrs or 36 at most, leaving longer will make it too strong.
(You better taste after 24hrs,! its a tough job but someone has to)
Then add a small amount of sugar to your own taste. Thats it..
Update; 7th November, I strained my two bottles through the coffee filters which removes any residue of fruit pulp, and results in a lovely clear Sloe Gin. After a bottle slipping out of my hands and covering me in pink sticky gin, I still managed to have 1 .1/3 litres of Sloe gin decanted and safe ( probably would have been 1 .1/2) if all had gone to plan. During the filtering I went through about 5 coffee filters in the process, wet them with water before pouring the gin through, pouring carefully, most of the sloes will stay behing in the bottles, and you can shake them out childs money box style to clear the bottles, once washed you can pour the decanted gin back into the bottles. I have it on good authority The Sloe Gin is definately up to standard, so I had better hide the full bottle, for Christmas.