I grew up on Sloe Gin. To clarify, I wasn't weaned on it, but it was a big part of any family Christmas meal, having been made well in advance of the holiday season.
Living in California, i have long lamented the absence of sloe berries, but when the plum lady at the farmers' market mentioned a recipe for damson and vodka, I was all ears. It turns out that the small heritage damson plums she had just picked were perfect for soaking in vodka. No sugar needed, as the berries were sweet enough. Read on for details:
Photographs by Sarah Lonsdale for Gardenista.
Above: Wash the damsons and pull off any leaves or stems.
Above: Cut each plum with a small cross.
Above: Place plums into a jar with a neck wide enough for them to come out. Using one part plum to three parts vodka (gin also works), fill the jar. If you like a slightly sweeter drink, add a tablespoon of sugar. N.B. I used a leftover bottle of vodka that was rattling round the fridge. If you are looking for a good vodka to buy, Hangar 1 would be my choice.
Above: Give the jar a shake, then store in a dark cool place until the holidays. Open up, strain with a muslin cloth, and pour the drink into a new container. Perfect for a last-minute hostess gift.