When I was a small girl, there was seldom more than a single bottle of cooking sherry in the house, for people generally didn't drink alcohol at home so much in the 1960s.  My Grandad worked for the Customs and Excise however, and somehow, from time to time, an unlabelled bottle would find its way into the cupboard, often around Christmas time.  It was always known as "Daddy's linctus" and I now realise it was most likely a rather good port - which wouldn't last very long in this household.

Well, today there are a few bottles of linctus around as patience has its rewards in the form of last year's sloe gin.  Earlier last week, my good WI friends Marjorie and Connie did their harvest of the blackthorn hedges around Bourton on the Water and brought me two large bags full.  They tell me that there are not so many sloes this year and I can tell from looking at my blog from 2007 that they are rather later than previously.  But my goodness, they are of fine quality!

Of course, before I could begin this year's Sloe Gin process, I had to bottle last years. I had also frozen the sloes to split the skins before steeping in the gin - so much easier than pricking with a darning needle!

Same procedure every year.  That's a large demijohn for us, which will be bottled as needed, a smaller bottle for Edward and of course, a bottle for Marjorie and Connie.

And the quality control is most important, so sampling has to be done. Cheers!

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho

To "Brideshead" and beyond