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wild ideas

sloe vodka

This one is just for the adults out there - a delicious, sticky and boozy treat which makes use of one of autumn's hedgerow stars, the Sloe.  Sloe Vodka is made in much the same way as Sloe Gin, or Damson Vodka and is a simple way to create a fruity sweet treat that can be drunk neat over ice, used in a cocktail or in cooking - for example it can really ramp up a sticky sauce to accompany red meat, venison in particular.

And, although the drinking part may be for adults only, the picking or foraging part can be for the whole family. Children love hunting for foods from the hedgerows. Remember, that they are fairly horrible when eaten raw!

ingredients

450g ripe sloes

450g caster sugar

1ltr vodka

4 cloves or a dried vanilla pod

method

  1. Wash and discard any damaged fruit and place in the freezer in a plastic bag. Leave for a day of two until they are frozen solid and start to burst; this saves having to prick them with a knife, although you can do this if you have time.

  2. Defrost and put them in a sterilised 2-litre jar or glass bottle. Pour over the vodka and add the sugar and cloves/vanilla pod. Place in a dark cupboard and shake the container every other day for a month, then occasionally for the next three months. After this, it can be strained and bottled. Leave it for six months to mellow, although you can get it out at Christmas for a sneaky tester!

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