Thursday, 25 November 2010
This week, coinciding with the start of the freezing weather, I had the first taste of my sloe gin, which has been steeping for ten and a half weeks. Although it's a bit early, I wanted to bottle a small quantity to give to a friend for her birthday this week. It's a deep red colour, almost opaque, that glows warmly when you hold it up to the light. The consistency is smooth and glossy, thicker than gin, and there are two distinct tastes — intensely bitter (perhaps because of the gin, or maybe because I picked the sloes early in autumn before they'd had chance to sweeten) and very sweet — but with an overall fruitiness. It's so rich it invites being savoured in tiny quantities. I looked all over for the perfect bottles, considering some ornamental Vom Fass bottles from the Selfridges food hall, but it wasn't possible to buy bottles without the oil and I didn't want the problem of what to do with the oil. In the end, I bought a 250ml bottle of Devon apple juice from the chiller cabinet as it had a screw top, drank the juice, sterilised the bottle and came up with a colour co-ordinated, vaguely icicle themed label. The rest of my sloe gin has gone back in the cupboard to steep some more before I get it out again properly in December.