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This recipe is the basis for most infusions so it is well worth reading through even if sloe gin is not for you (though why that would be so John cannot imagine). Sugar quantities and timings vary between recipes. John's basic sloe gin recipe is extremely simple; no added flavourings such as juniper berries or almonds, just straight in the jar with all three basic ingredients. Actually there is one very big thing John does do differently - he prefers to use vodka. It gives a cleaner flavour and is palatable sooner than when using gin.


Put the sloes in a 1-litre Kilner jar, pour over the sugar and the gin, close the lid and shake.

Store the jar in a dark cupboard, shaking once every day until the sugar has all dissolved.

After 3 months – or 6 months or a year – strain out the sloes, using a muslin-lined funnel placed in a bottle.

Cork or seal your bottle and store in a dark cupboard.

Wait for at least a year before drinking... if you can.

If your sloe gin is a little murky it is possible to filter out the offending particles using filter paper placed in a funnel.

Buy some good-quality wine filter papers (coffee filter paper does not work) and fold them repeatedly to form a pleated cone.

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  • 280g ripe sloes, washed
  • 140g sugar
  • About 600ml gin or vodka

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Booze Handbook