How to make sloe port

Foraging author Christine Iverson shares her recipe for sloe port - a great way to use up gin-soaked sloes.

Alcoholic sloe drink. © Oksana Schmidt/Getty

The snowy white flowers of the blackthorn are one of the first blooms of spring in the hedgerow. It has thorny branches, small oval-shaped leaves and, in autumn, purple marble-sized fruits, commonly known as sloes.

Sloe berries. © Robert Reader/Getty

As with sloe gin, there’s a fair bit of waiting around before you can sample your sloe port but, believe me, it’s well worth it!

More berry foraging recipes:

On BBC Wildlife Magazine‘s website:

On BBC Countryfile Magazine‘s website: 

Blackberry vodka. © Elena Kirey/Getty


  • Sloes that you used to make your sloe gin
  • Red wine 70cl, I like to use claret
  • Caster sugar 100g
  • Brandy 200ml


  • Step 1

    Put the sloes, wine and caster sugar into a 1 litre jar and shake to dissolve the sugar. Store the jar in a dark cupboard for 3 weeks, giving it a little shake now and then.


  • Step 2

    After the 3 weeks, add the brandy, shake well and leave for at least 3 months before straining.

    Gin-soaked sloes can be used to make sloe port. © Joff Lee/Getty

Christine Iverson discovered a love of all things hedgerow after moving to a Sussex Downland village in 2001. This fascination led to volunteering as an apothecary at the Weald and Downland Living Museum. She is a regular contributor to her local parish, runs regular folklore and superstitions of hedgerow plants, and gives talks to local women's institutes and horticultural societies.

This is a recipe from The Hedgerow Apothecary: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals by Christine Iverson, published by Summersdale, £14.99.