Berry picking for Booze making

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

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9 Responses to “Berry picking for Booze making”


  1. 1 Alicia 26/09/2012 at 4:11 am

    I was smiling at the title of your post, as I also do lots of berry picking for booze making! I wish we had sloes around here, I have never had them and lots of people seem to love infusing them! Yum… happy infusing. If you need any new recipes, we’re always posting. My new favorite is chocolate raspberry vodka.

    • 2 thesockgarden 26/09/2012 at 10:54 am

      I’ve just visited your site – WOW! So many fabulous flavour ideas. This booze making thing could become addictive. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. 3 Julia 27/09/2012 at 10:08 am

    That looks wonderful! The colour is so pretty. I made sloe gin one year, and I must say it was delicious and did not last out past Christmas, let alone a whole year. ;o)

  3. 4 Elaine 27/09/2012 at 7:33 pm

    Fabulous :0) we have “stewing” several bottles of blackberry vodka for pressies this year (and for us too, naturally!). Love the stuff.

  4. 5 georgiapdesigns 27/09/2012 at 8:47 pm

    Sloe gin is the best. I had a boyfriend many years ago and his gran made it. Every Christmas she would give me a bottle even after we had split up. It was lethal. I’ve never tried it with vodka though, mmmmm! Lucky you. Lx

  5. 6 Chantal 01/10/2012 at 12:58 pm

    Oh my, think I should come and visit you for Christmas…..I love homemade sloe gin best of all 🙂 In fact we went off on a sloe hunt this weekend but were faced with a massiv row of sloe hedges……..all chopped neatly by the farmer….no sloes 😦

  6. 7 sensiblegardening 02/10/2012 at 4:33 pm

    It is always interesting to visit garden sites from other countries. The blackberry booze sounds wonderful but I’m realy not sure what sloes are??

    • 8 thesockgarden 02/10/2012 at 5:45 pm

      Thank you for visiting. Sloe is a fruit of the blackthorn tree and is sharp and sour – not nice eaten as a fruit but very popular in the UK for making sloe gin! It’s a relative of the plum.

  7. 9 Chantal 15/10/2012 at 2:59 pm

    Thanks for the heads up on the boozey blog, my kind of place lol.


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