The winter solstice: the shortest day, and the official start of winter.
On Friday, I decided it was about time I did something about the seven bottles of sloe gin that have been doing nothing in the cupboard in our coal hole for the last three years. I gathered the sloes with my friend Carolyn and her daughters at her secret sloe site at the edge of the Dee Marshes. There were two problems that needed to be resolved: the gin was far too sour, and it contained masses of sediment.
The sourness was easily resolved: four additional teaspoons of sugar per bottle. I first tried getting rid of the sediment by sieving (no joy), then by straining through muslin (not much better). Then, yesterday morning, I hit upon the frankly genius idea of digging out our long-forgotten filter-coffee machine from the same coal-hole cupboard, and using its pot and funnel to filter the gin through proper filter paper. It took the best part of 24 hours for the gin to seep through at a rate of one drop every ten seconds or so.
Not so much sloe gin and slow gin.