A sloe way to pass the Port

IF YOU want the Port you pass to be your own here’s a little ruse to make an acceptable substitute that might not fool a connoisseur but will bring you and your friends a warming glow.

This is a little bit ahead of the sloe picking season but it does give you another option on what to do with all those alcohol-soaked berries after you have made sloe gin.

Rather than simply throw them out I normally use them up in a ‘Mother’s Ruin’ chutney or as boozy truffles but it is a messy, fiddly and time consuming job stoning the blighters. Then I came across a recipe for using them to make a faux port.

After straining the berries pop them in a sterilised preserving jar and add sugar and a bottle of red wine, shake it regularly to dissolve the sugar and strain again after a couple of months, adding some brandy to fortify the wine (as is the case in Portugal). It’s not bad!

I did this back in April, left it in the cellar then forgot about it until this week, so that’s longer than eight weeks but I am sure it was all the better for it.

My recipe:

500g sloes

100g sugar

75cl good red (preferably Portuguese) wine

200ml brandy

I got enough to fill one full bottle and an empty brandy hip flask

I did have hopes of using the berries a third time but found two lots of alcohol had by now leached out all the flavour. You can also do this with damsons if you’re making damson gin.