This is super easy to make sloe whiskey and sloe brandy liqueur and what I love about it is that you can pick the berries at any time once they’re ripe and stick them in the freezer until you’re ready to make your booze. It’s tradition (in our family anyway) to wait until the first frost to pick the berries but they may be ready in early November.

Sloe berries are from the blackthorn bush which grows in hedgerows and scrubland across the UK. It’s fairly easy to spot as the berries are a deep blue and about the size of a blueberry. The blackthorn has large spikes on it, hence its name and I would recommend wearing a few protective layers when you go collecting!

  • Blackthorn bushes laden with sloe berries
  • Sloe berries freshly picked

You don’t need loads of berries so be conscientious in your collecting and save some for other people and of course, the wildlife.

I’ve  made gin in the past and it’s worth experimenting with the ratios as some years the sloes are sweeter or you may prefer a sweeter, thicker liqueur at the end. For this year, I collected enough sloes to make a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of brandy.

What you’ll need:

1 liter cheap gin, brandy or gin

Extra bottles to decant your liqueur into

450g sloes

250g caster sugar


  1. Once you’ve collected and washed your sloes, you can either prick each berry with a cocktail stick or freeze them for 24 hours. This breaks the berry down and lets the alcohol seep inside more easily.
  2. Tip half the alcohol into a clean spare bottle, then push the sloes through the neck of each bottle and add the sugar.
  3. Shake each bottle vigorously and store in a cool, dark cupboard.
  4. Over the next few weeks, regularly shake the bottles to stir up the sugar until completely dissolved.
  5. Leave for 2 to 3 months. 
  6. When ready, to put a muslin cloth in a sieve and strain the liqueur through it and decant into clean bottles. These can then be sealed and labelled.
  7. The liqueur gets more mature the longer you leave it; I usually wait until the autumn or following Christmas before opening or giving to people as gifts.

Enjoy making your own sloe whiskey and sloe brandy!

#wildwaysadventures your pictures of you making your homemade liqueurs or whilst you’re out collecting the sloes!