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Superb sloe vodka recipe

Sloe vodka slowly maturing in glass bottles

Sloe vodka on day one

We have found that most fruit recipes work equally well with gin or vodka. With a few exceptions. Raspberry gin is sublime and dessert gooseberry vodka is to kill for. Their cousins, Raspberry vodka and dessert gooseberry gin are companiable and gluggable but not the super stars of the cocktail cabinet.

We traditionally always make sloe gin. Lots of it. This year I has so many sloes that I decided to give sloe vodka a whirl. A litre of vodka made two 750ml bottles of grog. One for the cellar and one for testing and tasting.

I need to clear a space on the shelves in the barn to put our sloe gin and vodka out of reach. When I do this, it matures quietly, without being disturbed. I haven’t had time to do his so our kitchen side looks like a sloe liqueur drinker’s paradise. It has also had an impact on using the toaster which sits behind the bottles and jars. A careful, crane like movement is needed to operate the toaster.

Late one night, I spotted the sloe vodka on the kitchen side and thought that I’d have a teeny taste. It was wonderful. Clean, crisp, punchy and absolutely delicious. It was barely three weeks old. Made with the sloes that I picked from John’s garden on October 27th.

I had another toot the next night and then waved the bottle in front of Danny’s nose. Then other visitors were introduced to this ambrosia. Reviews were good and glasses refilled.

I am ashamed to announce that our tasting bottle is almost finished but delighted that I tried sloe vodka this year. I hate to admit it but I think that sloe vodka is better than sloe gin.

I had a 800g of sloes in the freezer so Jalopy and I rumbled over to Tesco on Saturday and bought an extra large bottle of medium priced vodka. Made 2 x 75ml bottles as per the above recipe and was left with 570ml of vodka. I added the remaining sloes (336g) and topped up with just over a kilo of sugar. This will produce the really ‘thick’ sloe liqueur that loads of our friends adore. This is the bottle in the photo with the white label. The label is actually the sugar -scary stuff! If we have a super party and a tasting, the sugar lovers will not be left out for years, as they have been in the past. We like the sharp taste of our grog. This bottle will be for sweet toothed visitors only.

If you still have access to sloes try our recipe. You won’t regret it.

I will report back on how the thick sugar solution sloe vodka develops in a few months time!

Superb sloe vodka recipe
Recipe Type: Liqueur
Author: Fiona Nevile
  • 1poud / 500gm of washed sloes
  • 4 ounces / 112gm of white granulated sugar
  • 2 empty 75cl vodka bottles
  • 1 litre of medium quality vodka such as supermarket own brands
  1. Wash sloes well and discard any bruised or rotten fruit. Prick fruit several times with a fork and place sloes half the sloes in each bottle. I put several sloes in my palm to prick them rather than picking them up one by one.
  2. Using a funnel, add the sugar and top up with gin to the rim. Always open sugar bags over the sink as sugar tends to get caught in the folds at the top of the bag.
  3. Shake every day until the sugar is dissolved and then store in a cool, dark place until you can resist it no longer (try to leave for at least three months, we usually let it mature for a year. As you can see from above it was overwhelmingly moreish at three weeks).
  4. Some people strain the grog (through muslin/jelly bag) after 3 months and bottle it, leaving it mature for six months. We will strain and bottle any that’s left after six moths as I want to try making sloe sherry and slider (farmhouse cider and gin/vodka soaked sloes as recommended into the comments section of our sloe gin posts). Don’t leave the straining process longer than a year; leaving the fruit in too long can spoil the liqueur.

  Leave a reply


  1. Elizabeth

    I ran out of vodka to cover my damsons and put in some gin as well. Just wondering if this will cause any problems…slightly nervous.

  2. Pat Callag

    surprised not to find a disclaimer 🙂
    It is illegal to distill alcohol without a license in the UK, as it is illegal to rectify (re-distill, as in sloe gin – infusing fruit in purchased spirits like vodka) without a license.
    It is not possible to say which HMRC /tax license is easier to obtain. I would guess a rectifier’s license would be easier to get, but that’s just a guess, each case is considered separately.

    • Hi Pat
      I believe you are right about it being illegal to distill or re-distill alcohol without a licence in the UK.

      However, sloe gin is made by soaking the sloes in the gin (maybe with sugar) to infuse the sloe flavour into the gin. Then, after a suitable amount of time, decanting the beautifully flavoured (and now weaker!) gin to serve as a drink in its own right. Other fruit gins and vodkas are made in the same way. There is no distilling involved, hence I believe no laws are being broken. It amounts to a long-winded, and wonderful, way to add a mixer.
      You will find plenty of recipes on-line from reputable people like the BBC, Jamie Oliver et al with no disclaimer, as none is required!
      I hope that helps to clarify the situation.

    • Who is this stupid person. Nobody is distilling alcohol. It is already distilled, just adding flavour.

    • judi daleslass

      Adding sugar and fruit is not redistilling. Its the same as adding fruit juice or making a cocktail. People have been making sloe gin for years, including my policeman father, I can’t find a record of one prosecution.

  3. Marilyn Helling

    Have made sloe gin for the first time. Discovered a Sloe tree at bottom of garden couldn’t resist having a try.
    My daughter gave me a kit that she had been given with dried sloes. Made both much prefer the fresh added fresh to dried mixture. Tastes better but very strong. My daughter has been given a bottle of own brand vodka she is very fussy about her vodkas. So you know what i will be doing this afternoon yes making Sloe Vodka.
    I thinkI may take the sloes out of the dried mixture and store it really is strong my daughter called it fire water
    Thanks for Vodka receive.

  4. Helen Martin

    Iv got my sloe vodka waiting to be strained I made it for the first time in mid October and I don’t really know when to start tasting , iv made sloe gin which is wonderfull but tasted difftent even time I make it

  5. Has anyone tried making the sloe gin/vodka with xyitol/stevia/erythritol (sugar substitutes) or should I just try making it without as I’m a diabetic trying to keep the sugar levels down.

    • I was interested in making bramble vinegar and jams with Xylitol and was in touch with a woman in the US who suggested starting off using half sugar and half Xylitol. But I’m afraid I chickened out as I wanted my produce to keep and was afraid that Xylitol wouldn’t be such a good preservative as sugar so I haven’t tried it yet!

    • Richard

      Sorry a bit slow (or should that be sloe?) off the mark here. I use hardly any sugar as I don’t like the sweetness of most recipes. I think the alcohol is the preservative here – Gin and Vodka are 40% alcohol and won’t be diluted much by a little sloe juice. Hence I would suggest you try it and I reckon it will work. I also think it would work to make it with no sweetener, and then sweeten to taste later.

      I expect you have done this by now and it would be interesting to know how you got on.

      Best of luck!

      • peter hedges

        making any sloe or vodka drinks can be sweetened later with what you want to use.

      • Fiona Nevile

        Absolutely spot on Peter although I always use plain granulated can sugar myself

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