How To Make Homemade Sloe Gin

homemade sloe gin recipe
Gary K Smith / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Fermenting Time: 0 mins
Total: 0 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Yield: 1 pint
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
191 Calories
0g Fat
23g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 191
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 23g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 0mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Some say there is no better use for sloes than in a Sloe Gin. Christmas would never be the same without a bottle (or using Vodka depending on your tipple), but Sloe Gin is also a lovely liqueur to drink at any time.

Ideally,​ sloes should be picked after the first frosts, but when they are ripe and ready to pick depends on where you live so expect to be out foraging from late August through till October—fortunately, this still gives enough time for soaking ready for Christmas.

Sloes are found on the Blackthorn bush. In full fruit, there is no prettier sight on an autumn morning and the sloes look not unlike a bunch of grapes. However, unlike biting into a ripe, juicy grape will delight, eating a sloe will be a serious disappointment. The fruit is hard and the taste bitter and grainy. 

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces/425 grams sloes

  • 16 ounces/475 milliliters gin or vodka

  • 8 ounces/225 grams sugar

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Rinse the sloes under cold running water to remove any dust or small insects and grubs.

  3. Each sloe needs to be pricked or slightly opened to allow the fruit and alcohol to infuse. Either prick each sloe—which is hugely time-consuming—or place the sloes in the freezer overnight, and the skin will split all by itself.

  4. Weigh the sloes, then measure 16 ounces/475 milliliters of gin or vodka, depending on which you are using, and 8 ounces/225 grams sugar per 425 grams of fruit. More sugar can be added later if the resulting liqueur is not to your liking.

  5. Mix the sugar with your chosen alcohol and stir to help the sugar dissolve.

  6. Place the pricked sloes in large jars or wide-necked bottles, loosely fill, do not overcrowd the jars.

  7. Cover the sloes with the alcohol-sugar mixture, close the jars or bottles with a lid, and store in a cool dark place.

  8. Shake the bottle every couple of days until the liqueur is ready, which can take up to 2 months, but the longer you wait the better.

  9. Strain and reserve the sloes, taste the liqueur, and add sugar to taste.

  10. Return the liqueur to clean bottles, seal, and drink when you want.

Tip

  • Keep in mind that this recipe can take upwards of two months to make, so start the brewing in the autumn if you'd like to have the liqueur for Christmas.
  • Save yourself some time, and just put the sloes in the freezer overnight so the skin splits all by itself.

What to Do With Leftover Sloes

No need to throw the sloes away, they have absorbed lots of sugar and alcohol; and can be enjoyed in a few ways.


  • Leftover sloes are delicious dipped in melted chocolate and served as an after-dinner treat.
  • Add a few soaked sloes to a game stew for added flavor; they really make a difference.
  • Cook the steeped sloes with a little more sugar, and serve as an alternative to Cranberry Sauce or add the sloes to a Christmas Relish.