Been a while. Sorry. But the reason is a just one: gin. Sloe gin.

Aside from shoveling the odd tonne of mushroom compost, there’s not much activity up at the allotment. My estrangement from brussel sprouts (they’re always blown) and my acrimonious break up with leeks (the allium weevils got there first) mean I’m a little short on veg gluts. (And why is it, by the way, that growing veg always feels like a volatile romantic entanglement? Is it just me? It is? Oh, right.)

No matter. The hedgerow will provide a glut: they are covered in sloes.

But before I can justify making the annual batch of sloe gin, it’s become something of a tradition to make sure the current sloe gin stocks are suitably depleted. And being around countryside folk for whom a bottle of sloe gin is an ideal gift-to-take-to-dinner-party, we have a far few bottles.

And hence the delay in this post. For there’s only so much sloe gin one can use in a week without incurring side effects. And I should also add that it’s virtually impossible to take half decent photos of the food you’ve made for your blog post whilst sampling said sloe gin ingredient. Hence the lack of photos this week.

Still, I’m glad (if a little jaded) to report that the sloe gin glut is conquered and here’s how:

Sloe Gin Martini

  • 3 parts sloe gin
  • 1 part dry vermouth
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • 3 fresh cranberries per person
  • 1 twist of orange zest

Mix the gin and vermouth in cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Shake over a dash of Angostura bitters and finish with a cocktail stick of fresh cranberries and a touch of orange zest. Serve with Christmas trees and candlelight.

Sloe Gin and Tonic Sorbet

This makes a delicious palette cleanser served in shot glasses between starter and main course. As if an excuse was needed…

  • 100ml sloe gin
  • 500ml Fever Tree tonic
  • 250ml water
  • 250ml caster sugar
  • 1 lime, zest and juice

Over a low heat, dissolve the sugar in the water until clear. Then turn the heat up and boil the syrup for 4 minutes. Allow to cool in a large cool bowl before adding the gin, tonic and lime. Churn in an ice cream maker until frozen and try to restrain yourself long enough to set it fully in the freezer before sampling. Divine.

Sloe Gin Jelly

I have the most lovely Valentine Warner to thank for this recipe. He makes it with blackberries, but a) I don’t have any and b) I’m now too far gone in my sloe gin habit to contemplate adulterating such nectar so I leave them out. You can find his recipe here.

next week, I’m going to try this jelly in a sloe gin trifle, and I may use blackberries as my fruit, but for now, neat gin jelly will do me fine….