Sloe gin is a British red liqueur made with gin and sloes. Sloes are the fruit (drupe) of Prunus spinosa, a relative of the plum. Sloe gin has an alcohol content between 15 and 30 percent by volume. However, the European Union has established a minimum of 25% ABV for sloe gin to be named as such. Sloe gin is technically a gin-based liqueur, but due to historical prevalence at the time of writing the EU spirit drink regulations, the colloquial name ‘sloe gin’ was included in the legal definitions and as such is the only gin-based liqueur that can legally be called gin without the liqueur suffix. The traditional way of making sloe gin is to soak the sloes in gin. Sugar is required to ensure the sloe juice is extracted from the fruit.
Many commercial sloe gins today are made by flavouring less expensive neutral grain spirits, although some manufacturers still use the traditional method. US distilleries often use close relatives of the sloe, such as the Aronia berry or beach plum, to produce a domestic version of sloe gin.
1. Hayman’s Sloe Gin
The Hayman family have been involved in Gin distilling for over a century and their Sloe Gin comes directly from an original recipe created many decades ago. If that doesn’t give you an idea of just how good they are, then all you can do is try their fantastic Sloe Gin. This is a wonderfully bright and crisp Sloe Gin, with lots of flavour. It is packed full of fruits and nuts, with cherries and almonds especially. This makes for a deep and refined palate that will have you reaching for more immediately.
2. Sipsmith Sloe Gin
Based in Hammersmith in London, Sipsmith have been crafting Gins since 2009. Started by childhood friends Fairfax and Sam, it was the first copper pot still distillery based in London since 1820. Their Sloe Gin is exceptional, with lots of deep beery flavours and a nice chewy mouth feel. This is the perfect Sloe Gin for Christmas, as it is packed with warming berry notes and a nice hint of Cherry that goes down well with Christmas cake.
3. Plymouth Sloe Gin
Plymouth Gin is the oldest working Gin distillery in England, and they have learnt a lot over the years. Their Sloe Gin recipe dates back to 1883, a fact that they are very proud of. Their Sloe Gin is exceptionally sweet and gentle, with lots of sweet nuts and cherries coming through. It is packed with summer fruits and a lovely tart aroma that makes it perfect for sipping neat on a hot July day. The fruits come through really well on the palate, which overflows with sugary sweetness and a nice berry tang.
4. Ableforth’s Bathtub Sloe Gin
Ableforth’s are an award winning Gin brand based in the UK. They combine the new with the old, in the innovative drinks and traditional aesthetic. This Sloe Gin is perfect for using in cocktails. It has lots of character and the berry notes are exquisite. Red currents and black berries come through strongly, giving it a nice bite from the beginning. Marzipan is another leading flavour in this Gin, which adds a lovely soft sweetness to the tang of the berries.
5. Oliver Cromwell Sloe Gin
Aldi surprised everyone when they released their Oliver Cromwell London Dry and promptly won praise from customers and critics alike, as well as several awards. Their Sloe Gin version of Oliver Cromwell is just as tasty and has been received just as well. This expression is fabulously fruity, with orchard fruits and summer berries appearing from the nose onwards. The palate is drying but delicious, with lots more zest and life to it. this is a Sloe Gin that is full of character and bursting with fruits notes