Sloe Gin great for those long winter nights:
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 litre/1¾ pint gin
1. Prick the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle and put in a large sterilised jar.
2. Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal tightly and shake well.
3. Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for two months.
4. The sloe gin will now be a beautiful dark red and ready to drink, although it will still improve with keeping.
5. Variation: make blackberry brandy in the same way, substituting blackberries for the sloes and brandy for the gin. Blackberries do not need pricking.