Hooray for Autumn, otherwise known as ‘sloe gin season’! While I’m yet to venture out on a hunt for this year’s hoard of sloe berries, the time has finally come to turn last year’s concoction into a smooth, syrupy batch of crimson loveliness.
Last year was the first time I have managed to harvest enough sloes to make two bottles of gin, so I decided to experiment with flavour a little. Batch number one will act as a control and contains only sloe berries, gin and caster sugar. Batch number two has all of the above, but also includes the addition of two cinnamon sticks.
Considering the similarities between the two batches at the outset, I have been intrigued to discover that the results couldn’t be more different!
Batch number one is lighter in colour, has resulted in about the same amount of liquid as was originally added (70cl) and took an absolute age to filter.
Batch number two is a deep red colour, has produced a good few cl more liquid than I started with (it won’t even fit in just one bottle!) and was filtered in a flash.
While it’s clear that the gin in batch number two was better infused by the sloes, I am a bit baffled as to why?! Might the addition of cinnamon sticks have had an unexpected effect on the mixture? Or, perhaps more likely, the different containers in which they have been stored might have played a part?
Batch number two was stored in a tupperware box with a larger surface area than batch number one, which means the sloe berries will have been in better contact with the body of gin during their 12 month resting period. I’m simply amazed at the difference this appears to have had on the final product.
I’d love to hear any thoughts you might have on why my two gins are so different, and what you do with your own sloe gin concoctions to get the best results.
If you’re new to sloe gin and fancy having a bash at making your own, I highly recommend it as a cheeky, little Christmas morning tipple – tonic optional.