The Brewing Shed

What to do with boozy old fruit

white chocolate liqueurs with damsons

Our sloe gin and damson vodka have been strained, bottled and are now winking at us with temptation from the drinks shelf. What’s left behind looks much less appetising – old, shrivelled, wrinkly and full of booze. No, we didn’t invite Keith Richards round to help with the bottling process, we’re talking about the used sloes and damsons. But, much like the aforementioned axe-grinder, there’s still a gig or two left in the old fruit yet. Rich has already snaffled the sloes for a drop of slider* so I get to play with the damsons. And here are my top five suggestions…

1. Another spirit infusion
There will be enough damson flavour to repeat the infusion process with another spirit. Probably best to move on to a stronger flavoured, dark drink such as brandy, rum or my choice this year – whisky (but please use the cheapest blend you can find or the single malt police will nab you).

2. Fortified ‘port’
Some folk create fortified port style wines by soaking the fruit and 100g sugar in a bottle of red wine for a few months (make sure the vessel you use is filled to the top to prevent oxidistaion). When ready add 100 to 200ml of brandy to bring it to your desired booziness and taste. Or you could try drowning them in sherry and skip the brandy phase.

3. Chocolate**
For an extravagant chocolate liqueur, remove the stones, mix into melted chocolate and allow to set before wolfing down with glee.

4. Sauce
Remove stones. Blitz in blender. Pour over ice cream.

5. Puddings, biscuits and cakes
Remove stones and use the chopped fruit as a substitute for dried fruit in anything from flapjacks to spotted dick.

*Slider is a sloe-in-cider infusion. The damson-in-cider version has the rather ridiculous moniker  ‘damder’ or ‘dumpy’ (damson + scrumpy).

**Admittedly my use of white chocolate set in the ice cube tray and photographed with a camera on the wane hasn’t made the most appetising image, but I can promise it tastes fantastic.

damson vodka fruit

This is what happens if you soak up too much vodka


  • Hi Chaps,
    I came across your website after entering the search ‘what can I do with gin infused blueberries?’.
    I thought about sorbet, but actually, didn’t really fancy it this time of the year. I also thought about muffins. I quite like your idea of mixing with more booze, but will they work in the same way as sloe berries?
    Lastly, after the fun we’ve had using fruit from our allotment in gin this year, I’m thinking about growing some sloe trees at the back of our plot, it’s an area about 10ft by 30ft currently just covered in couch grass?

    • There’s only one way to find out how those boozy berries will perform… give it a go! I reckon it’ll be a winner. And I reckon planting sloe bushes is a great idea – hopefully you won’t notice the couch so much when the area is full of tasty fruits.

  • Hi guys can you suggest an easy way of removing the stones from the booze filled sloes – Im making your chocolate receipe but its taking sooooo long?

    • Hi Helen
      Unfortunately there are no shortcuts that we know of. Other than carrying out the task while steadily supping on sloe gin.
      Good luck!

    • If you’re going to reuse for another liqueur infusion then, yes, add the same amount of sugar you would add first time around.

  • Can you reuse the sloes to make another batch of gin, if not can you, have you got any other ideas, seems a waist just to throw them after all the pain you went through to get the. Lol

    • Yes you can.
      You should notice a slight almond flavour coming through from the stones as well, which isn’t as obvious among the full-powered fruit first time around.
      Rather than a gin infusion, we go with whisky for our second pressing (but please don’t crack open the expensive Macallans – supermarket stuff is fine)

  • Any ideas about damsons, been give 10lb, for helping an old couple through the covid period, it would be rude to say no. Many thanks

    • Treat as sloes and do an infusion (we tend to go with vodka rather than gin, but both work well).
      They also make a great wine, particularly if combined with elderberries.

  • Hi,
    We found your page after searching for what to do with plums after making plum gin (which I can highly recommend). Any ideas for what to do with the plums? Quite a different fruit in size etc to sloes /blackberries etc. (we have our sloes in red wine and sugar and just had a yummy crumble with the blackberries, thank you!)

  • I made a rasberry liquere with 100 proof vodka, what can I do with all the left over “inebriated” raspberries?

  • Oo I’m inspired by the suggestion to use the boozy fruit as a sauce over ice cream. Will do this for Christmas with the family. The damsons come from a v productive old garden tree we sadly had to cut down in 2020. This gin and ice cream will make for some special family gifts and feasting!

  • My father always sends me a large assortment of dried fruit for the holidays. Last year I put it all in a canning jar and poured brandy over it. It’s amazing I found your page cause I was wondering what to do with all the leftover boozy fruit. Thank you.

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