There has been a hive of activity in our kitchen the last two nights and more is yet to come. We are brewing up some of this gorgeous aromatic dark liquid to bedazzle our guests before booting them out into the snow at the end of a suitably heavy meal, but my question is: Have you done yours?

Frantically pick them before the birds and put them in the freezer to simulate the frost process which is supposed to increase and better the flavour.  Not only does this ensure your stash but you can steep them at a time when it suits you best. This is by far the best recipe that we have used and just has the right sweet to sour mix and I have taken it from Pam Corbin’s recipe book (from the River Cottage series – a lovely little book by the way).

 (Special Tips:  Girls this is definitely one for the guys… couldn’t tell you why they love to make this so much. Also look up high – take a ladder or clamber around on the roof of your car. Never feel weird in your country pursuits!)

450g sloes (frosted or pricked all over)

450 sugar or less for a more tart gin

600ml gin

Put sloes into a large clean jar or bottle. Pour over the sugar and tip over the gin. Screw tight the jar and then give a really good shake. shake daily for the next week to prevent the sugar from settling on the bottom and to help release the sloe juice. Do this for the next 8-10 weeks.  When the sloes have instilled their flavour pass the mixture through a fine sieve. Pour into sterilised bottles.

We have taken Pam’s advice and left our gin for 18 months and it truly is much smoother so make plenty and steal a couple for this years drinking but the rest will be ready for next year and you will be onto your next batch.