Save sloe gin for our annual contest

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The finished brew awaits judging

Do not be tempted to drink all your sloe gin at Christmas – leave some for the Rye News annual sloe gin competition for amateur homemade brew in the New Year.

There could be a shortage of sloe gin over the festive period. It could be that sloe gin is becoming a more popular drink, transitioning from a niche product to a more mainstream one, with demand continuing to increase. Previously, commercially made sloe gin would have been mass produced, but craft gin producers have focused on making a better product.

Another culprit is a fungus called Taphrina pruni which has been spreading in Scotland that causes a condition known as ‘pocket plum’. This leads to distorted fruit forming on plums, damsons, and sloes. It prevents stones from forming and the fruit never ripens. The larger suppliers will buy in the ingredient – often in syrup form – from abroad.

A spokesperson from Plymouth Gin said: “We can confirm that this year’s sloe harvest has had no impact on our Plymouth Sloe Gin production.”
Sloes are usually harvested from the blackthorn tree in October and then steeped in spirit for around three months to produce sloe gin. Making sloe gin is slow, pricking the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle, but is not laborious. There’s no cooking required, just patience as the sloes steep in the gin

Photo: Rye News library

Photo: Rye News library

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