Sloe Gin, Step 4: Filter, bottle, drink   3 comments

I awoke Saturday with excitement and trepidation about the fast-track sloe gin project (most recent prior post including the label and other links here).  This was the day of filtration followed immediately by the first taste and I was prepared for the worst.  Normally, this is a long-term project and the infusion benefits from the alchemy of time and, more to the point, the slow kinetics of dissolution: the most complex and subtle flavours are leached from the pips deep in the fruit–tannins and vanillins that further react with some of the bitter fruit and skins and the added sugar.  And, so, here were the steps involved in the final preparations.

sloe gin filter coarse

Filtration is most effective if you start with a coarse step.  With slow-sloe gin, this might include a sieve as the starter since the fruit will have softened significantly.  With this rushed, 6 week batch I went straight to wire mesh (my metal coffee filter).

sloe gin filter start sloe gin filter berries

 

The smells filled the kitchen even though the room was a bit cool this winter morning.  Dumping out the fruit, there was a distinct licorice and spice odour which reminded me that I used brown sugar in this batch.  I began to worry less as I moved on to fine filtration.

sloe gin filter oh3 shirt

 

“Use cheesecloth folded into several layers,” is the advice on multiple liqueur making sites (here is my favourite); I want my creations to have a personal touch, though, so I grabbed a hashing t-shirt for the job.  The benefits are obvious: it has a fine weave, it is no stranger to being soaked in alcohol, and I have worn this on runs, quite literally, all over the world.

sloe gin filter colour

This photo doesn’t do justice to the quality of filtration achieved thus…it is actually pristine and not at all cloudy.  From a 1 liter jug half filled with berries and a half cup of sugar then topped with gin, I recovered 750 mL plus a shot to taste:

sloe gin filter taster

It is harsh and could have gone at least another month.  But, it is drinkable and sharp and has a depth of several flavours that usually disappear as the infusion progresses to full term.  The anise flavour that attacks the nose is at the forefront but there are several subtler spices–a hint of ginger and cinnamon I didn’t expect but welcome.  There is a grape-like finish but not like in a fine wine, more the grape MD 20/20 variety.

Overall, better than I hoped for.

Posted 2012/12/15 by Drunken Bunny in booze, hashing

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