Today we nipped up to Donnington Castle on a search for berries. The sun came out for a bit but it was very windy, so we put wellies & coats on to protect from scratches and possible rain.
Almost immediately we found sloes
And there were plenty of brambles all over the place, although it looked like there might have been quite a few visitors before us. As is often the case with blackberries they don’t just grow in the hedgerow, they often abound around dilapidated buildings – we found quite a lot here…
Off home to give the sloes and blackberries a soaking in Miltons sterilising fluid – mixed with plenty of water of course. I only found out recently that it could be used to sterilise food and I’m glad we used it – there were some horribble wigglers that came out of the blackberries!
I spotted an article in the October Gardeners’ World mag for using any kind of berry, sloes, damsons etc with a spirit such as gin, vodka, tequila, brandy – and caster sugar. So that’s what we’ve done! One bottle of blackberry & sloe gin, one of blackberry & sloe vodka, then one each of blackberry gin & blackberry vodka. It looks such a pretty colour already…
For the first week you shake the bottles whenever you pass them, then put them in a dark place and shake them once a week for 3 months. I was a bit disappointed to find that you have to keep it for a year before drinking though… Until I re-read the instructions and realised that after the 3 month period you strain & decant and it’s ready. It keeps for up to a year!
So by my calculations we should have our lovely pink berry gin & vodka ready to drink on Christmas Day! We couldn’t have planned it better :) Cheers