We use sloes, blackberries and elderflowers that are all foraged from the hedgerows at different times of the year. We pick the elderflowers in May and make a large batch of elderflower cordial, but you can also buy elderflower cordial in the shops.
The rule with sloes is to pick them after the first frost but the key is to pick them when they are ripe, which can vary on the weather. You can bring on the “frost” by putting the sloes in the freezer, which is what I do. 2015 was a fantastic year for sloes, which are small plum-like berries growing on the blackthorns. They look exactly like blueberries.
A couple of Hedgerow Martinis before dinner promises lively and spirited conversation throughout. And they are incredibly easy to make!
How to make Sloe Gin
- 500 Sloes
- 300 sugar
- 1 x 70cl bottle of Bertha’s Revenge gin
- Remove the stalks and leaves from the sloes and put in a plastic bag and place in the freezer overnight.
- Give them a light roll with a rolling pin while still in the bag and decant into a bottle using a funnel.
- Add in the bottle of Bertha’s Revenge Gin.
- Give the bottle a good shake every day for three weeks.
- After three weeks, allow the sloe gin to settle for a couple of days without shaking, then decant into a clean bottle through a muslin cloth.
- We always add sugar at the end as you can control the level of sweetness this way. Make a simple sugar syrup by heating the sugar and water in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
- Allow to cool then add sugar syrup to the sloe gin to taste.
You can keep the sloe gin for years and it’s a great drink at Christmas time.
Hedgerow Martinis ( 2 servings)
- 2 shots of Bertha’s Revenge gin
- 3 shots of sloe gin
- 1 shot fresh lime juice
- ¾ shot elderflower cordial
- 2 fresh blackberries
- 2 frozen blackberries(for the garnish)
- 4 lumps of ice
- 1 cocktail shaker
- 2 Chilled Martini glasses
When using a cocktail shaker, always avoid trying to make too much in one go, as overflowing the cocktail shaker means it doesn’t mix well. Mixing two martinis per cocktail shaker works best.
- Put all the ingredients (except the frozen blackberries) into the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Chill the martini glasses by putting them into the freezer or leave a few lumps of ice with water in the glasses for ten minutes.
- Pour the Hedgerow Martini through a cocktail shaker into the glasses.
- Garnish with one frozen blackberry per martini glass.