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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.

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  1. Hello Janet…don’t worry,you can’t mess up! I’d personally add more gin,it will dilute the sweetness.I think my recipe call for 1lb sloes 8oz sugar and 1 ltr spirit of your choice.So a bit of trial and error…think I’d add the gin,taste it in a few days and see then.If you can get more sloes to add to the mix,don’t be afraid to add some.Keep tasting and adjusting…but keep writing down what you do,then next year you’ll have some idea of what to do and what to avoid.Hope I haven’t waffled on too much for you!

  2. I do hope I havn’t messed up. I was under the impression it was 1lb sloes 1lb sugar and a 70cl bottle of gin. My ‘ brew’ has been on the go for 3 weeks and I couldn’t resist a sneaky taste…….I have to admit it’s a bit on the sweet side, and reading a few of the more recent posts 1lb of berries and sugar should go with a 1 litre bottle of gin…Is this just personal preference ? or should I just add more gin to make it less sweet or will the sweetness lessen if I leave it longer ?

  3. hi all i made sloe vodka last year but with a twist i put a pricked chilly in with the sloes it gives a wonderful drink a interesting edge great over ice or if you want to be really decadent mix with champers .

  4. Went out walking today and the sloes are still beautiful! I plan to go and pick a load tomorrow…they are so big and soft now.Problem is affording the spirits.I think sloe rum might be my next project.

  5. Janet, yes thats right the inside of the fruit is green. The red colour comes from the skins. Which are blue-black! Clear?
    And yes they do have stones. Enjoy. Good crop this year.

  6. Forgive my ignorance this is the first year I have ventured into ‘ foraging’ and have found a number of bushes i beleive to be blackthorn with lots of sloe berries. My question is : Is the inside of the berry green ? I know the shiny ones are not yet ripe and to look for berries with a bloom but I expected the inside to be red – giving the final colour to the sloe gin, I was also surprised to find a stone in the middle, any advice would be appreciated.

  7. lisa110rry

    Good evening Danny and Fiona, I’ve been enjoying your site for well over a year but this is my first post. I love reading about your fruit spirits recipes, and your dogs and your recipes. I make fruit spirits from sloes, bullaces, and wild plums. Here in rural, coastal, Lancashire there are loads of opportunities for foraging.

    This evening I called on a friend to ask if she would like to come foraging with me, the plan was to harvest some enormous sloes, the size of bullaces, but definitely sloes. They grow beside local commercial greenhouses, that might be why they are so big. But they’re not always so enormous, just a brilliant year for these old trees. Yes, small trees, and I was so happy to have Jane with me because her reach is at least 9 inches longer than mine!

    Well, I’ve cleaned ’em and destalked where necessary and tomorrow they will go into three empty 3litre water containers (large neck type) with the ratio 1lb sloes, 4 oz sugar and one 75cl bottle of gin.

    I know they would be better if bletted by the first frost but we are expecting very, very high winds tomorrow and we often get the first frost after the new year here on the Lancashire coast.

    I give away or donate most of my fruit gins, and am also planning a Chrimbo treat for my dog walking friends – a slug of sloe gin, a mince pie and a Bonio down where the river meets the canal on Boxing Day morning!

    Best regards,


  8. there’s lots of notes circulating on sloe gin and vodka and i shall certainly be making both this year. I’ve just , successfully, made blackberry vinegar. Has anybody ever made sloe vinegar?

  9. Hi Danielle,

    It’s 1 litre of vodka for every 1 lb of sloes, you just split them between the two empty 75cl bottles – alternately just find yourself a large 1.5 litre kilner jar to put it all in.

    Andy 🙂

  10. I have a quick question: Just gone out and picked my first ever batch of Sloes! Really looking forward to trying this but looking at the recipe above I can’t work out if it’s 1lb sloes per 75cl bottle or between the two? (I’m probably just being a dunce!) Please help! Made my first plum vodka earlier this year too so can’t wait to get tasting!!! Thanks in advance for your help x

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