How to make sloe gin

The fruit of blackthorn bushes are a classic flavouring for gin. Follow our recipe to make your own spirit. 

Illustrations by Tom Bingham

Illustrations by Tom Bingham

  • 1 litre gin (a cheap brand will do)
  • 450g sloes
  • 220g caster sugar


1 Prick the skin of the sloes with a small fork or needle. Place the sloes in a large sterilised bottle or Kilner jar.

2 Pour in the sugar and then the gin. Seal tightly and shake several times.

3 Place in a dark, cool place such as a cupboard – this is really important or you will lose the liquid’s lovely ruby colour.

4 Invert the container every two days for a week. Repeat once a week for at least eight to ten weeks.

5 Taste to check the sweetness – you can add more sugar if necessary. We prefer our sloe gin sweet and syrupy.


6 Finally, strain the sloe gin through muslin or a pair of tights into sterilised bottles. It should be ready to enjoy by Christmas! It’s a wonderful accompaniment for desserts, cheese or mince pies.