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Ah, gin. The spirit of the hour, the hero of happy hour, and the beverage of choice for a good time—well, when we can all gather together again. But what is sloe gin? From London dry to craft-style gins and all in between, sloe gin has been popping up on shelves everywhere lately.
So what is sloe gin, anyway? It’s not just a regular bottle of everyday gin. In fact, it’s an entirely different kind of distilled spirit with its own unique flavor profile and an interesting history to match it.
Now let’s take a closer look at sloe gin and why it should be your new go-to beverage for classic cocktails and creative sips.
What Is Sloe Gin?
You can’t go wrong with sloe gin if you’re looking for a unique and delicious drink to add to your repertoire. But what exactly is sloe gin? It’s a type of liqueur made from gin and sloe berries, which are small red fruits similar to plums.
The sloes are soaked in the spirit for up to a year before being steeped in sugar or combined with sugar syrup. This process creates a sweet and slightly tart flavor that varies depending on the recipe.
Sloe gin has an ABV between 15%-30%, depending on the recipe, and generally has an intense raspberry-like aroma with bittersweet flavors of almond, licorice, and plum. It’s perfect for sipping chilled in the summer or adding to cocktails—it’s known for being a great addition to champagne or sparkling wines for added complexity!
History of Sloe Gin
Sloe gin is an alcoholic liqueur spirit made from sloe berries, sugar, and gin infusion. It has a tart, sweet, and slightly bitter flavor. It’s usually served on the rocks or added to cocktails like a Sloe Gin Fizz or Bramble.
The history of sloe gin dates back centuries to when it was first made as an elixir by monks in Europe, using sloe berries—a type of wild plum—as the primary ingredient for its medicinal properties. Today, it’s enjoyed as an adult beverage and is becoming increasingly popular with mixologists and cocktail connoisseurs worldwide.
Sloe gin gets its unique flavor from the combination of sloes (or plums) steeped in gin for up to several months, with sugar added to balance the tartness. This process gives sloe gin its deep purple color and rich flavor profile, which is not easily replicated by any other cocktail ingredient.
How is Sloe Gin Different From Regular Gin?
So what makes sloe gin different from regular gin?
The main ingredient is tart blackthorn berries, similar to plums and steeped in gin, giving it a unique taste. The berries add a hint of sweetness, while other traditional ingredients can help give it a tangy taste, depending on the recipe. Also interesting to note: it’s actually not a true gin because of its lower alcohol content, anywhere between 15% and 30%.
Sloe gin is made with a longer steeping process than regular gin – typically between six months and two years. The result is often more viscous than your regular gin and sweeter than other liqueur-based drinks. And, if you’re wondering what else you can do with sloe gin, plenty of recipes exist beyond just drinking it straight.
How Is Sloe Gin Made?
So how is sloe gin made? It’s actually quite simple! Sloe gin starts with a neutral gin spirit base. The sloes (the fruit!) are then steeped in that base over a period of months, and the result is a flavored liqueur.
Because of the time it takes to make sloe gin, it must be prepared in batches. This means that the resulting liqueur will always be slightly different each time, depending on many factors, such as the strength of the spirit and how long the sloes have been steeped.
It’s also important to note that unlike other gins, which get their flavor from juniper berries, sloe gins aren’t distilled like regular gin — they’re macerated in spirits with sugar added for sweetness and flavor. This gives sloe gin its unique character and makes it so delicious when sipped over ice or enjoyed in a creative cocktail!
What Does Sloe Gin Taste Like?
You might not know what sloe gin tastes like, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s often compared to a sweet cherry wine with a hint of almond and a small burst of bitterness — like eating a tart cherry.
Most people agree that it tastes slightly tart but sweet and fruity at the same time. The finish is slightly dry and contains plum, cherry, almond, and even aniseed notes.
The taste isn’t overbearing — it’s pleasant enough to drink alone or as an accompaniment for desserts. Sloe gin can also be used in cocktails or to make a punch. It mixes wonderfully with tonic water, soda water, Prosecco, Champagne, or even whiskey!
Health Benefits of Sloe Gin
Did you know that sloe gin might actually be good for you? While obviously, any alcohol should be consumed in moderation, sloe gin does have some hidden health benefits!
Rich in Antioxidants
Sloe gin is full of antioxidants, which help combat damage caused by free radicals. Free radical damage has been linked to many diseases and conditions, from cancer to aging skin, so drinking sloe gin can help your overall health.
Improves Blood Flow
Sloe gin also helps blood flow, preventing blood clots, which can help with heart problems or poor circulation. Sloe berries are full of vitamin C, which helps protect arteries and veins from hardening or clogging – perfect for those looking to maintain good heart health.
Natural Digestive Aid
Another great thing about sloe gin is that it can act as a natural digestive aid. The alcohol in sloe gin aids digestion by relaxing the muscles in your stomach and helping break down food – this can help with bloating, cramps, and other digestive issues.
The next time you indulge in sloe gin, remember that it is doing more than wetting your whistle — it may actually be doing some good!
Popular Brands of Sloe Gin
If you’re sold on giving sloe gin a try, it’s time to pick out your brand. Here are some of the most popular:
Gordon’s Sloe Gin
Gordon’s is the classic sloe gin that will likely come to mind when you think about this drink. It’s made in Scotland and has been enjoyed for over 200 years — it’s probably the first bottle your parents had at their bar!
It has a simple, traditional recipe with a sweet taste with hints of almonds and fresh cherries. Mix it with sparkling wine or prosecco for an easy take on a classic cocktail (a straight-up glass of sloe gin also does the trick).
Plymouth Sloe Gin
Plymouth Sloe Gin hails from…you guessed it — Plymouth, England. Aged for six months, this tangy drink is less sweet than its predecessors and has a smooth finish. It is best enjoyed neat or mixed with sparkling soda water and lime.
Bogart’s Sloe Gin
Created by Sipsmith Distillers in London, Bogart’s Sloe Gin can be found in trendy bars worldwide. With juniper as its main botanical, it has more gin flavor than other sloe gins on this list. For an easy twist on the traditional martini, mix Bogart’s with vermouth for an interesting flavor combination!
Where Can You Buy It?
Now that you know what sloe gin is and why it’ll make a great addition to your liquor cabinet, you must wonder where to purchase some. Luckily, it’s readily available at most liquor stores, although since it has been gaining popularity in recent years, it might be more difficult to find in certain areas.
If your local stores don’t have any sloe gin, don’t fret—it’s also available online. When shopping for sloe gin online, read reviews and compare prices to get the best product for the best value. Plus, when buying online, you can treat yourself to something a bit more special than your usual bottle of gin—some of the higher-end sloe gins come in ornate bottles or gift boxes that are perfect for showing off when guests come over.
Flavors and ABV
When shopping for sloe gin, consider two important factors: flavor and ABV (Alcohol by Volume). Sloe gin comes in different flavors—from sweet and jammy to tart and astringent—and is typically between 15-30% ABV in strength. If you’re new to sloe gin, try a bottle with an ABV of 20-25%, as this will give you an idea of what the liquor tastes like without knocking your socks off.
So you’ve heard of sloe gin, but what’s so special about it, and why should you drink it? Besides its unique taste, sloe gin is incredibly versatile—you can use it to make a range of simple and classic cocktails.
The Sloe Gin Fizz
A classic favorite, this one is easy to whip up and goes smoothly.
- Fill a tall glass with ice cubes
- Pour in 2 ounces of sloe gin
- Half an ounce of fresh lemon juice
- Top off with soda water.
- Garnish with a lemon slice and mint sprig.
This cocktail has all the sweetness of sloe gin balanced out by the tartness of lemon juice.
- Fill an old-fashioned glass with crushed ice
- Add 2 ounces of sloe gin
- Half an ounce of lime juice, plus half an ounce of simple syrup for sweetness
- Drizzle a splash of crème de mûre (blackberry liqueur) over the top.
- Garnish with a lime slice and blackberry.
Add sloe gin to one of these classic gin cocktails for extra taste and depth.
Cheers! Whether sipping on a classic or trying something new and exciting, there are many delicious ways to enjoy sloe gin.
You’re probably wondering: What is sloe gin? And why should you be drinking it?
Let’s start with the basics. Sloe gin is a flavored gin made by combining gin with sloes (the fruit of the blackthorn shrub). The result is an aromatic, sweet-yet-sour liqueur with a sharp, fruity flavor. It tastes generally sweet since extra sugar is added to the aging process.
The flavor notes vary depending on who makes it, but generally expect to find berry, jammy raspberry, and blackberry flavors, with some citrus and herbal notes. As for why you should be drinking it? It’s easy to enjoy, as you can sip it straight or mixed into cocktails such as a Sloe Gin Fizz or classic Bramble.
In summary, sloe gin is a unique drink like no other. With its brilliant crimson hue, sweet-tart flavor, and herbal undertones, sloe gin is a great addition to any liquor cabinet.
Whether you’re looking for a sweet aperitif, something to sip while watching the sunset, or a show-stopping cocktail ingredient, sloe gin will surely be a great pick. Plus, with its long shelf-life and ability to be used in various recipes, sloe gin is a great way to spice up a home bar for any occasion!