My favourite alcohol at the moment is Jack Daniels. Not that I've had much chance to drink since I passed my driving test two years ago, but even when I do want to I find it's horribly expensive. So I've decided to have a dabble at homebrew, not proper homebrew with beer and wine (neither of which I drink), but cheats homebrew in the form of sloe gin and turbo cider.
I've started off two batches of sloe gin. The first I made with the original sloes I picked and put in the freezer overnight. All the sugar has dissolved and it's changed colour. This one's been going for five days now:
The second I made with twice as many sloes and didn't bother with putting them in the freezer first. I made this one in a 2 litre jug that used to hold scrumpy. This is what it looks like after the first good shake, you can still see the sugar in the bottom:
Here's the recipe I used, you can scale it up depending how much gin you have:
* 1lb/454gm of sloes
* 4 ozs/112gm of white granulated sugar
* 70cl bottle of medium quality gin
Make sure you've taken all the stalks from the sloes, you could wash them if you like but I didn't bother. My sloes weren't near a road so shouldn't have been too polluted, and the gin will take care of any germs. Find a clean container big enough to take the gin and the sloes, you could buy a bigger gin bottle than you need and drink some first to make room!
Prick each sloe with a fork before you drop it in the gin, add the sugar, seal and give it a good shake. Shake each day till the sugar has dissolved then shake maybe once a week or so. Store in a dark place to preserve the colour. After three months you can strain out the sloes (save them for eating with ice cream or try flapjacks) and drink the gin, or leave them in for a maximum of six months. The gin will keep for a long time and should mature well. Try to save a bottle till next year to compare!
Another experiment for me in homebrew land. I'd never heard of turbo cider before discovering it on the net a couple of weeks ago. The idea is to take ordinary cheap apple juice from the supermarket and make it into cider. No actual apples to gather/chop/press.
There are many varied recipes out there for this one. You're best googling "turbo cider" and picking what suits you. At the moment I've got 3 litres of apple juice, 3 teaspoons of brown sugar, and 7g of wine yeast in a borrowed demijohn. I've sat in on a hotwater bottle and wrapped in fleece to try and keep it warm enough for the yeast to react.
If it looks suitably foamy tomorrow evening I'll add some more apple juice. If it works this could be a drinkable cider within a week or so....