Sloe gin – the sticky end

Well, all that chasing around country lanes in the pursuit of sloe berries was well worth it! We finished up with three bottles of sloe gin and two bottles of sloe vodka – result!

After weeks of agitating the bottles once a week (think bell-ringer), the gin and vodka was ready just before Christmas. I carefully poured the liquid off the berries, and into clean wine bottles. The lesson learnt from last year was NOT to try to strain it through a clean cloth. It came out smelling and tasting of washing powder and the whole batch was ruined.

The smell was divine, the liqueur was thick and almost syrupy, and I have to admit I felt rather smug with my little haul.

We had a family get together over Christmas, and I proudly presented my home-made stash of moonshine. The family were dutifully impressed and the sloe gin/vodka took a mighty bashing that afternoon… it was fair to say that it slipped down like honey!

I’d kept one bottle of sloe gin in the pantry to be savoured in small doses throughout 2012, but the rest of it was ‘open house’.

This plan was doomed for disaster. Our pantry is in fact, a glory hole. You’ll find everything from hoovers to lightbulbs in there. It never gets sorted out, and you almost have to hold the stuff in with one hand, to shut the door with the other. Whilst rustling around in there, the other half inadvertently knocked something over. This in turn created an avalanche of junk. Sod’s law dictated that this would not land on the vintage bottle of Cinzano that’s been lurking around in there since time began…oh no… it only went and landed on the treasured bottle of sloe gin.

If you have ever spilt a glass of red wine, you will know how far it travels. Imagine a whole bottle of sticky, red liqueur smashed all over the pantry floor…

The pantry floor was duly emptied and cleaned, but there is still a faint whiff of gin in there – some of it must have gone down the cracks in the tiles. So instead of having a lovely glass of something yummy, I’ll have to make do with sticking my head in the pantry and taking a big lungful of ginny aroma.

The glass that should be full of sloe gin... but is, in fact, empty.