Prugnolino - Italian Sloe Gin

Our woods are filled with plump deep blue sloe (blackthorn) berries, prugnole (or in local dialect brugnole). With stained sticky fingers, I gather them just in the nick of time during the late fall, waiting for them to be soft but not mealy and more importantly before the other booze makers can get to them! 

That's right, just like local ladies have done for centuries I collect kilos of prugnole to be soaked in pure alcohol and made into a delicious port-like after dinner drink (digestivo) known as a prugnolino.  I am very proud of my boozing because I can't cook, this is what I proudly contribute to the table. This is also an honored tradition to continue making homemade liquors and brings with it serious bragging rights when done right. The secret to creating a nice smooth flavor is time - the longer it sits, the better it tastes.
Sloe Gin of Italy
Brugnolino - recipe from the Candigliano Valley

1 kilo of sloe
1 litre of pure grain alcohol (or gin)
1/2 liter of white wine
250 grams sugar

Wash the sloe well.
Mix together & let sit 30-40 days in air tight jar - mixing every so often.
Filter well with cheese cloth.
Let sit in cool dark place - Wait for another year to start serving,  however some start drinking immediately. I think over time the flavors round out so nicely.

Spiced Sloe
500 grams sloe
250 grams sugar
750 ml pure grain alcohol (or gin)
cinnamon stick
4 cloves
oranges zest

Clean sole berries/fruit well. Using a tooth pick, prick the sloe here & there so the alcohol can really penetrate the fruit.
Mix together all the ingredients in an large air tight jar.
Let sit in a cool dark place for 3-6 months, mixing every so often.
Filter well with cheese cloth into serving bottle.


  1. Can you substitute blueberries for the prugnole? This is an interesting digestivo ... with a lovely colour.

  2. The gin will now have a deep ruby red colour. The liqueur is poured off and the edible kernels and spices rejected. Alternatively, the leftover edible kernels can be infused in white wine or cider, made into jam, utilised as a basis for a chutney for liqueur chocolates.

    sloe gin

  3. Can this be made with dried sloe?