25 November 2011
On the map it’s1919, though the sloe gin was made in 2010, and we’ve got a house which is twelve years old – or some predecessors have – under the shot glass. One or two of our elderly neighbours are small children nearby. Not everyone’s got a house, though. Can you spot the workhouse?
Some things don’t change much. Among them is the lane which is the dotted line passing the workhouse. The workhouse has morphed into Southmead Hospital, and part of the bottom end of the lane now joins a road, but it’s all still public right of way.
It’s a gloomy nowhere, these days, between back gardens and hospital fencing with fly-tipped doors, choked privet, and murderous brambles. However, there are also blackthorn bushes, along the dots on that map, with sloes on them in September. Sloes are wild purple-blue plums so sharp your lips shrivel, but you can make sloe gin with them. You’ll have to wait till next year now, but here’s how.
100g castor sugar
1 litre gin or vodka
Freeze the fruit until you’ve got a free morning. Roll the frozen fruit over a cheese grater to break the skin. Drop it into a large jar. Add the sugar leaving everything to steep for a few hours. Pour on the spirit. Put a tight lid on. Shake well. Put it somewhere dark for three months or longer, shaking occasionally. Strain or decant into bottles.
Post by our guest blogger Old Teasel.
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