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, washed*
- Gin (or Vodka)
- Weigh the sloes, then measure a pint (475 ml) gin or vodka and 8 oz (225g) sugar per pound of fruit. More sugar can be added later if the liqueur is not to your liking. Mix the sugar and the alcohol.
- Place the damsons in large jars or wide-necked bottles, loosely fill, do not overcrowd the jars. Cover with the alcohol-sugar mixture, close with a lid and store in a cool dark place. Shake the bottle every couple of days until the liqueur is ready - approx 2 months, but the longer the better.
- Strain and reserve the damsons, taste the liqueur and add sugar to taste. Return the liqueur to clean bottles, seal and drink when required.