The following recipe has been kindly contributed by Penny Golightly, an author, journalist, and blogger.  Her excellent website, is dedicated to helping readers live life to the fullest and within their means: ‘Who cares if we’re broke? Let’s have fun anyway.'

The site is packed full of excellent ideas, money-saving tips, views, and opinions.  The site is regularly featured in national newspapers and magazines.  Penny's book "The Jump Start Journal" is a step-by-step guide to improving your quality of life and finances.  The book is available here. The Jump Start Journal 

In this recipe, Penny takes you step by step through how to make sloe gin.  With two months until Christmas, now is the perfect time to bottle up some sloes!  Sloes can be picked from blackthorn bushes and are nice and ripe in October and November.  For help identifying the sloes, Sloe Biz has a great guide to help you...

Once you’ve sloe’d yourself up, give them a good wash and remove any stray leaves or stalks. You then need to break their skins down a little, and there are two options. The first, traditional, way is to use a sterilised needle to prick each sloe several times. The other, easier,way is to freeze them for 48 hours instead. It's entirely up to you.


The simplest recipe I have is this one:

700-ml (70-CL) bottle of any London Dry gin
320g prepared sloes
150g caster sugar

You can leave out up to half of the sugar if you’d prefer a less sweet drink, but the sugar does help the sloe juice come out of the fruit more easily. Also, you really shouldn’t buy a fancy, expensive gin for this, as you’ll lose any delicate flavouring as the sloes take over the bottle. This year I used Waitrose’s economy gin, which is less than £10 a bottle and tastes perfectly fine.

To vary the flavour, you can add a few drops of almond essence or replace some of the sugar with smashed-up barley sugar sweets. You can also make spiced sloe gin by adding a quarter of a cinnamon stick, a clove or two, and a tiny strip of orange peel.

The method is very simple. Most people say you should use a very large, airtight jar or demijohn, but if you don’t have either of these, then

All you need is the original bottle and a large, spotlessly clean jam jar. Here goes:

1. Pour the gin into a jug and cover it.

2. Put the sloes into the empty bottle, where they will take up half to one third of the bottle.

3. Add the sugar to the sloes, giving the bottle a gentle shake, and leave it for a few minutes.

4. Tip up to a third of the fruit and sugar mixture into the clean jam jar.

5. Pour the gin back over the fruit in the bottle and the jam jar. Cap both tightly and give each a good shake to help the sugar dissolve.

6. Store in a cupboard or at least out of direct sunlight, and leave the sloes in the gin for at least eight weeks. Some people even leave the fruit in for twelve months, but there’s a risk of the flavour spoiling. Shake the bottles every day for the first couple of weeks.

ks,then one or twice a week for the remaining time.

7. Strain out the fruit using a muslin cloth and return the gin to its original, cleaned bottle. Taste a little of the drink to see if it tastes nice and mellow yet. You can then leave the contents to mature in the bottle for a few more weeks or months before drinking, although it never lasts that long in my house.