Autumn is the perfect time to make sloe gin or vodka. Hedgerows are full of ripe, juicy sloes and the delicious fruity liqueur will be ready in time for Christmas. So why not give it a go? It's so easy to make and you certainly won't regret it when, feet up in front of the fire with the wind and snow howling outside, you treat yourself to a warming tipple.
Equipment needed
2 litre preserving bottle such as show here
Weighing scales
Ingredients needed
1 litre bottle of gin or vodka (no need to buy an expensive brand!)
450 grams of sloes
250 grams of white sugar, whose purpose is not only to sweeten the liqueur but to also extract the maxium amount of juice from the sloes.

1. A few days before you're ready to start put the sloes in a plastic bag and place them in a freezer. This will break the skins.
2. Let the sloes defrost before using.
3. Put the sloes, sugar and gin or vodka into the preserving bottle and seal.
4. Give the contents a thorough shake.
5. Shake the bottle every other day for a month.
6. Shake once a week for the second month.
7. When you're ready to drink (see below) strain clear the liquid into the 1 litre sterilised gin or vodka bottle.
8. Add more sugar if necessary according to preference.
9. The liqueur can be drunk from the third month onward, though will improve with age.
The left over sloes can be used to make jam.