Just across the street from us is the Copenhagen version of Central Park. I've plucked my elderflowers there for over ten years now, but only just last year did I stumble across a patch of sloe bushes (trees?).
I put my boys to work the other day, and held the branches low so their nimble little fingers could grab as many ripening berries as possible. I say ripening, since sloe berries are only truly "done" after the first good frost. I dare not wait for it, since I'm certainly not the only good woman in this burrough looking forward to her own sloe brew.
So, you pluck them as late in the season as you dare. then freeze them yourself overnight. This breaks down their bitterness, and gets them ready to languish in the spirits of your choice for three months. I use gin.
This recipe is an idea gleaned from several sources.
400-500 grams of sloe berries, washed, frozen overnight, and thawed.
100 grams of sugar.
1 bottle of gin.
Shake daily until the sugar is dissolved.
Store a dark place for 3 (THREE!) whole months.
Strain through a sieve, then a cheesecloth.
I've yet to taste this, it's my very first try with the sloe. I'll probably just enjoy it straight up, but if you have any suggestions for use in a cocktail, do pipe up!
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