Sloe Port Recipe using left over berries from Sloe Gin

Last October we made a batch of Sloe Gin from our usual recipe, which is currently sitting downstairs in the cellar.

Sloe Gin Cellar

'The Cellar' sounds rather more exciting than the reality, incidentally. It's our basement, with shelves for stuff and some fab homemade wine racks we got from a nice man called John in Uckfield, via Freecycle.

Anyway, the 2017 Sloe Gin cries out 'drink me, drink me' every time I walk past it. So far I have managed to resist.

A couple of years prior to that, we also made Sloe Gin. Once we'd strained and bottled it, we wanted to make use of the berries. It seemed a terrible waste to just throw those swollen gin-soaked beauties in the bin. So we set about finding out what we could do with them.

Discovering Sloe Port

I'd heard of Sloe Port. Technically not a port, but a fortified wine in the sense that it has the gin in the berries plus brandy added to red wine.

We made ours, put it in the cellar and promptly forgot about it. I know that doesn't sound likely, but our cellar sort of allows for that. There's all sorts down there, it's a big space and we feel fortunate to have it. It means we can buy products in bulk and have somewhere to store them out of sight, along with all our homemade stuff. Come the zombie apocalypse, the good people of our village will be fine. We will have booze and beans a-plenty. But it does mean that things get put down there and forgotten about.

Anyway, back to the Sloe Port. It sat downstairs with the berries in it for over a year. That is not what the recipes tell you to do and, had we remembered we'd done it, we wouldn't have done that either.

But it turned out beautifully, and so this is how we will always make it. You would be hard pressed to find a smoother, more delicious drink to enjoy in front of a warm fire in December than homemade Sloe Port. If you have made Damson Gin, you can also make Damson port using exactly the same recipe and method. It is equally delicious.

Sloe Port Recipe

Makes 1 litre


  • About 500g of the sloes left over once you've drained your sloe gin
  • 1x 750ml bottle of red wine - any cheap red wine will do
  • 100g sugar
  • 200ml brandy

And you will need a large, clean preserving jar with flip top lid.


Add the gin-soaked sloes, sugar and the bottle of wine to the jar. Seal the top and shake every day for 3 weeks to ensure the sugar is fully dissolved and gin gets distributed.

Then add the brandy to the jar and shake well. Stick in a corner somewhere dark and forget about it (ha!) for at least 3 months.

When you're ready to drink your port, strain off the berries off through muslin once again. This time I think they're only good for the bin unfortunately, but they can at least feel they've given wonderful service.

Decant your Sloe Port into bottles. If you're feeling really nice, you can give them away to friends and family as gifts. However once you taste it, you may decide to give them something else instead.


So the year after I discovered this, I tried the same recipe with a variation. Instead of using Sloes soaked in gin, I used the cherries and blackcurrants I had used to make vodka liqueurs.  

Cherry and Blackcurrant Port

I left the cherries and blackcurrants soaking in red wine and sugar in exactly the same way as for the Sloe Port Recipe. And guess what? It turned out equally beautiful.

As with Sloe Gin, there's a fair amount of waiting around until these delicious concoctions are ready to drink. If you make a good amount each year so you're effectively stockpiling it, you'll be less likely to be tempted to drink the lot in one go and have nothing left. Maybe. 

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Make Your Own Sloe Gin

Beginner's Guide to Making Mead

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Sloe Port Recipe


  • Hi Cheryl, fantastic that you’ve made it! If you’ve sealed the bottle, it will last for absolutely ages – we’ve found some we made years ago and it’s delicious! However once you open it, as with all wines, it will start to deteriorate as the air gets to it. Hope that helps, hope you enjoy it!

  • How long does the port last (or be ok for) after bottling? I just bottled it and then saw it says bottle when ready to drink but I’m not planning to drink it yet.

  • Tony! So sorry I haven’t been getting notifications about comments and I’ve just discovered yours and one or two more, apologies for taking so long to reply! Thank you for your kindness, I hope you carry on being inspired :)

  • I’ve just bottled Sloe gin (second batch) and have also bottled sloe port (made from the first batch 2 months ago). I really like your suggestions for damson, cherry and blackberry gin/vodka. Your ideas have inspired me and I love your sense of humour. 😁

    Tony G
  • Carol I’ve never made the berries into jam or sauce and I really really need to do this!


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