Help about adding sugar later please

Discuss sloe gin recipes - and all those secret family variations! Post your questions and replies here if they are about sloes and gin

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Sloe Learner
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Help about adding sugar later please

Post by Sloe Learner » 15 Oct 2006, 11:39

Hello peeps

I have a demijohn full of deep purple sloes & gin (roughly half & half)put together last weekend but no sugar yet. (I cut the sloes for the first time - used to prick them - & this fabulous purple colour just came within a couple of hours. I am going to try the gorgeous-sounding sloe gin truffle recipe for the first time).

Anyway, I have read somewhere (or so I thought, but having searched in vain for an hour I am asking for help) in this fine forum that an alternative method to adding sugar at the time is to add it later - which seems to reduce alcohol take up by the berries. I thought it suggested decanting most of the liquor leaving just enough to cover the berries and then adding the sugar to the mix before adding the intensely sweet liquor to taste some months later.

If you can point me to the post I would be most grateful or, failing that, tell me, please:
1/. how long should I leave the sloes before separating most of the gin?
2/. how much liquor to leave with berries?
3/. how long to leave the sugar on the gin-soaked berries before recombining (I see Blackthorn thinks 6 months is a good time to leave a traditional recipe to steep)?
4/. Would it matter if I just added the sugar to the mix at the end of steeping or even to the gin after the fruit is separated? Has anyone ever tried this please? I saw an old FAQ where someone, having previously only added sugar added gin anything up to a couple of years(!) later for only a couple of hours before drinking - sounds great - if not a little dubious.

All thoughts & answers welcome please. :D

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Post by Blackthorn » 18 Oct 2006, 19:39

A certain amount of sugar is necessary to help the transfer of juices from the sloes to the gin - by osmosis.

Making sloe gin is not the same as making a cup of tea :roll: where sugar is added purely as a matter of personal taste.

Sloes that are left in the gin with sugar long enough (too long actually) come out prune-like and wrinkled and, really, quite dry. I reckon that the gin benefits from the sloes, and the sloes do NOT benefit from soaking-up the gin.

As I say here rather too often (?) keep it simple: Pick / Prick / Bottle.

Making sloe gin in different stages - adding sugar later etc - doesn't make much sense to me unless there is a known benefit. Having said that, experimentation and different recipe ideas is what the forum is all about :) :) ... so what do others think?
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Post by ro » 19 Oct 2006, 09:44

I am making sloe gin this year with my nan's recipe. This calls for the sugar to be added later (she swore it gave you more gin if you did it this way).

She told me to leave the sloes in the gin and shake it lots for a week.
Then drain most of the gin off (into another bottle) and add the sugar to the sloes.
Shake the sugar and sloes up and let the sugar disolve (can take a couple of days) if it hasn't fully disolved in 2 days add some of the drained gin gin.
Then put the gin back on top of the sloes and let it infuse again, shaking occasionally.

Hope this helps.

I am making 2 batches, one to this recipe and one to the recipe. I will let you know if there is any difference!

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Post by deadsloeandstop » 20 Oct 2006, 12:33

Hello ro,

With all due respect to your Grandmother, I don't think I could be bothered with all that larking about :lol: :lol: :lol: I'm with Blackthorn on this one: pick/prick/bottle...however, let us all know how it turns out.


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Straining off the gin before adding sugar

Post by sloesloeqqsloe » 01 Nov 2006, 16:49

I am going to try the vanilla sugar/almond recipe, but have made the gin without the sugar as yet because I have had to give the sugar time to absorb the vanilla. This was a couple of weeks ago, so I can add it now. Can anyone tell me why you should strain off the gin before adding the sugar to the sloes - why not just chuck it in as normal and give the bottle a good shake?

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Re: Straining off the gin before adding sugar

Post by Blackthorn » 01 Nov 2006, 18:12

sloesloeqqsloe wrote:... Can anyone tell me why you should strain off the gin before adding the sugar to the sloes - why not just chuck it in as normal and give the bottle a good shake?
Well, the main recipe is very simple and clear, and mixes all ingredients at the same time.

The whole reason behind the forum is to encourage the exchange of recipe ideas ... but occasionally it is worth getting back to basics, I think :) . Keep it simple 8)

[PS - hello S !]
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Post by gin&berryit » 29 Dec 2006, 18:54

The site that suggests a two stage method could be the very first one you get if you Google 'sloe gin'.

I decided to try it, not that there is anything wrong with the all in together method. I filled a Kilner jar with sloes and poured in the gin to cover (this took about half of a litre bottle). After about 10 days I decanted the gin and then added the sugar to the sloes. At this point I deviated from the recipe and also poured in the remaining half bottle of gin (less a few tasters!). There was just enough to cover the sloes once again. For the time being I returned the coloured gin to the bottle. After shaking every day for a week or so all of the sugar was dissolved and it was a beautiful colour. After straining off the syrup I poured the first lot of gin back in and again stored the syrup in the bottle. The first lot of gin is now busy extracting yet more colour, flavour and some of the remaining sugar. The berries are getting wrinkly. I reckon I should get some pretty good stuff when I combine the two lots. Also there will be a full bottle of it

Incidentally I used Plymouth gin, which is very nice by itself. A friend suggests adding the leftover sloes to a bottle of dry cider. This makes another very nice drink.

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Post by ncsndrsn » 24 Aug 2007, 13:38

As Blackthorn says, if you add sugar while the sloes are still in the gin it enables osmosis to draw out the water from within the cells of the sloes. This causes the cells to collapse, and allows the sugars and flavours within the cells to be more easily absorbed by the gin. After three months you end up with shrivelled sloes. If you add sugar afterwards the sloes remain plump, carrying away some of the juices and flavour when you decant the gin. My additional impression - and the reason for this post - is that the eventual product tastes more of almonds if the sugar is added while the sloes are in the gin. This is probably because the shrivelled state of the sloes and osmosis allows more of the cyanide within the kernel to be absorbed. Personally this is how I prefer it!

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