Near me are some woods and sloes grow there. Sloes are an intensely purple/blue fruit protected with vicious spikes. This year looks like a good harvest. But you need to be patient- they ripen very late and need a frost to get them to the right flavour. This comes from the Guardian….
“But a good one, a real vintage warm-the-cockles sloe gin, is an elusive thing to track down. The secret is whispered down through generations and tucked into the back of old cookery books on yellowed slips of paper. Should you be minded to have a go at your own vintage you’ll have to invent as you go along – family recipes for legendary gins are more closely guarded than the holy grail. Two things should be borne in mind when making sloe gin: sloes should not be gathered until after the first frost or they’re so sharp they make your teeth squeak; and it’s essential to pierce each and every berry, but only with a silver pin, or a thorn from the sloe bush itself. If the hours spent fiddling with this and the prospect of purple fingers haven’t put you off, then no less than six months later your reward will be the best winter warmer since the invention of the thermal underwear.”
So please leave them a while and then we can create a very special drink!