Eau-de-Vie de Prunelles à Jean Marquet

Jean Marquet’s Sloe Eau-de-Vie

M. Marquet collects blue-black sloes in December and, instead of the sloe gin I make in England, he produces a beautiful raspberry-pink concoction based on eau-de-vie. A few months later a syrup for serving with ice-cream and hot puddings can be made from the same sloes.

Ingredients

  • 1 wineglass sloes
  • 1 litre( pt) eau-de-vie blanche (40° proof)

Syrup

  • up to 1 kg( lb) sugar
  • 500 ml(18 fl oz) red wine

Method

In Britain, collect sloes after the first frost, which softens their flesh. Prick each fruit with a pin and pack into a 1 litre( pint) bottle or jar.

Cover with the eau-de-vie, cork the bottle and store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months and preferably longer, until the eau-de-vie has become raspberry pink. Strain into another bottle, cork tightly and store in a cool, dark place for 1–5 years.

For the syrup, dissolve the sugar in the wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool slightly and pour over the sloes. Cork the bottle and keep in the kitchen, shaking it every day for 2–4 weeks until the flavour is satisfactory. Strain the liquid into another bottle, add a little of the eau-de-vie de prunelles if you wish, and keep for serving with puddings or as a basis for cool summer drinks made with carbonated spring water and ice.

I recommend the syrup served hot, just slightly thickened with a little arrowroot, over a good English sponge pudding – excellent on a frosty day.

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