I’ve never tried this before, but with about 1kg of sloes left over after I’d made the sloe vodka it seemed worth a try. It’s really quite straightforward to do, too. I used:
- 1kg sloes
- 1 litre water
- juice of 1 lemon
- granulated sugar (amount to be determined)
Initially I put the sloes (still frozen in my case), water and lemon juice into a pan and simmered them for five to ten minutes, then took them off the heat and mashed the sloes up with a potato masher. Back on the heat I simmered them for about another ten minutes.
The next step is to strain the mixture. I used a jelly bag, but I imagine a sieve with some muslin inside or something similar would do the job. I left mine to drip for several hours until there was nothing obviously still to come, but I didn’t squeeze the sloes to get the very last of the juice out in case doing so made the cordial cloudy.
I measured the volume of juice, returned it to a saucepan and added 80g of sugar per 100ml of juice, bringing it up to a simmer whilst stirring in the sugar to dissolve it. Once it had all dissolved I poured the juice into sterilised bottles, though as long as the temperature is above 60°C and the bottles are safe from cracking I imagine the heat of the juice itself will sterilise them — they just need to be turned upside down for a few seconds once closed to make sure all of the inside of the bottle gets hot.
This was enough to make about three pints of cordial, perhaps a shade less.
First thoughts having tasted it are that the flavour isn’t as strong as I expected. I might be tempted to use more sloes or less water next time. Also for my taste it’s a bit too sweet (I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth). I will probably drop the amount of sugar down to somewhere around 60g per 100ml for the next batch.
It’s definitely one to make again though, and I’d quite happily make far more given sufficient quantities of sloes (not really a problem around here — there’s more blackthorn than you can shake a hairy stick at around the neighbourhood. In fact, if I had three or four kilos of fruit available I might well try a few different combinations of sloes, water and sugar to see what people preferred.