A great way to make use of wild damsons, or sloes. We have ample of both here in Pitstone, near Tring, Herts. In fact the area is famous for them! The Aylesbury prune I think it is called.
To make about 1 litre:
450g damsons or sloes, pricked
225g sugar (or 450g for sloe gin)
Wash the fruit and prick if not picked after the first frosts (a frost softens the fruit and gives a kick start to releasing the juices). Put the damsons or sloes into a large bottle and tip over the sugar. Pour in the gin and then shake well to mix the fruit in with it.
You will then need to shake daily for about a week to prevent the sugar settling in the bottom. Then shake regularly and taste if you like for the next 6-8 weeks. Once you have a good flavour and all the fruit juices have instilled, strain the mixture through a fine sieve and pour the liquor into bottles.
Try and leave the gin for 12-18 months before drinking, so it won’t be ready this Christmas, but maybe next year. So always have a batch in hand!