January 10th, 2014

I can remember going on a solo bus trip age 10, to Talley Ho Corner where I bought my first LP, The Slider by T-Rex. Fast forward many years and I’ve come across two more sliders – small burgers and my new personal favourite, sloe gin cider.



I often make sloe gin during the autumn, which is ready to drink by Christmas. It’s a great winter warmer when the weather goes south. A demijohn (gallon jar) half full of sloes can produce two lots of gin (about 9 bottles), but at the end of it one is left with a lot of gin soaked berries. I’ve seen suggestions for eating these sloes with ice cream or even chocolate coating them, but having tasted a few I’ve found that they are still quite bitter and not pleasant at all.

sloe gin cider

sloe gin cider

Last September, around the time that I was bottling my second batch of gin, I found an article suggesting that the gin soaked sloes could be given a second lease of life by adding cider to them. As cider is relatively cheap this seemed like a good experiment…

the southampton arms

the southampton arms

I went to the Southampton Arms to buy my cider. It’s conveniently just a couple of streets away from my home and is probably, “The only dedicated ale and cider house in London to sell only beers and ciders from small independent UK breweries.”



The pub staff are exceptionally helpful here – they let you taste all the drinks before you order and handily sell takeaway cider by the flagon! As sugar had previously been added to the sloes and gin, I chose a very dry cider – Legbender from Rich’s Farmhouse Cider of Sommerset, with an ABV of 6%.

sloe gin cider

sloe gin cider

The cider should be poured gently over the sloes – splashing it around oxygenates the drink and apparently that should be kept to a minimum – oxygen can kill the Slider over time or adversely affect the flavour. I needed about 6 pints of cider to cover the sloes.



An airlock should be used to allow any gas to be released – there is likely to be a chemical reaction with any sugar left from the sloe gin and potentially a secondary fermentation in the cider. The airlock allows gas to escape without letting any bacteria or insects in.  The Slider should be left in a dark room or cupboard for a month or so.

I had intended to drink the Slider in October or November, but somehow didn’t get round to it. This week I invited Audrey round for the opening of the demijohn and I was slightly anxious that it might have turned to vinegar. I needn’t have worried, there was a distinct and pleasant cider smell when I removed the cork.

Our verdict: The Slider was exceptionally good. The gin soaked sloes had mellowed the tart cider, giving it a hint of sloe gin and it had a distinct taste of almonds (from the stone in the sloe), apples and cherries. The drink had a lovely clear rose hip colour and only needed filtering towards the bottom of the demijohn. I will definitely be making this again!

When making your own Slider I recommend that you use a good quality traditional cider and not the commercial rubbish found in most pubs and supermarkets. There are stalls in farmers’ markets selling the real thing. It’s worth noting that some people use their sloes once again (after the cider) and add sherry to them – I haven’t gone that far yet…

I noticed online, that one can buy a commercial Slider, which costs around £12 per half bottle.

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30 Responses to Slider

  1. Eha says:

    How come you always make me smile? ~ reading the heading I truly thought you would [for some reason or other] be ‘talking’ about those small . . .? Instead I have learned quite a lot, even tho’ I am not absolutely sure I shall follow in your footseps 🙂 !!! Am so glad you obvioulsy enjoyed!!!

  2. excellent, particularly the airlock detail. x

  3. That sounds amazing – Big Man is a huge cider fan so maybe if we ever manage to get hold of sloes one year, we can try to make this! Glad you didn’t have any cider explosions 🙂 and the Southampton Arms sounds interesting.

  4. andreamynard says:

    I love this idea! We have home-made cider and sloe gin that should be ready at a similar time so will definitely be giving this a go.

  5. audrey says:


  6. Tessa says:

    How interesting! I love cider, but I never tried anything like this :). Great idea Mad Dog!

  7. This is almost like a chemistry class.. but if I were in this one, I’d be paying closer attention than the one in High School! This must have tasted amazing.. just reading about the different notes you could taste makes me long for a taste!

  8. I admire your patience MD! AND good memory, because I don’t think I would be able to wait a month for a recipe to be ready…I probably forget about it and after 6 months find a dusty bottle fill with some unhealthy concoction… 😉 😉
    He buscado la traducción y en español estas bayas se llaman endrinos. No recuerdo haberlas visto antes, pero me fijaré, aunque sólo sea por curiosidad.
    Un abrazo,

    • Mad Dog says:

      Ha ha – going on the result I think the drink would probably still be good in 6 months – perhaps even tasting better!
      Sloes are common to most of Europe – they provide a lot of the flavour in Patxaran, which can be made at home. I really want to have a go at that, but I need to do it in Spain as the aniseed flavoured drinks cost a fortune in England 😉

      • OK, now I can figure out how your slider taste. Very good indeed!
        You come to Spain very often, but if you want me to mail you a bottle of anise…I’ll be happy to do it.

        • Mad Dog says:

          The sloe taste is quite distinctive in spite of the aniseed, gin or cider. It’s odd in that the fruit itself is very bitter and not nice at all to eat, even after being soaked in alcohol for months. Along with the fruit flavour it somehow imparts an almond type flavour too!
          Thanks for the anise offer, that’s very kind, but I think the cost of postage would outweigh the price saving on the drink. I’ll make some in Barcelona and leave it in a cupboard there for several months when the time is right 😉

  9. This is absolutely so cool…New York’s having a cider renaissance these days, so it’s on everyone’s mind…I will have to investigate both the sloe gin and the cider infusion!

  10. How to contact you by e-mail?

  11. cecilia says:

    definitely a tasty treat, now i wonder if you can add cider to the peaches after I made the peach brandy? or are they too mushy by then. Next winter I might have a wee experiment myself! Excellent idea.. c

  12. Karen says:

    Well I have plenty of cider in the basement but no berries. The trials and tribulations that we must deal with. 🙂

  13. Pingback: Pheasant with Sloes | Mad Dog TV Dinners

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