On a cold day, Sloe Gin is a perfect pick you up on its own.
— James Hayman of Hayman’s

What is Sloe Gin?

Sloe Gin is a traditional English liqueur that is rich, ruby red color with bitter sweet red fruit flavors and hints of almonds. It is made from a wild plum called the sloe berry, which is the fruit of the Blackthorn shrub named for its thorny nature. The berries are small in size and if you eat them raw, they’re very tart. They’re typically used for making jams and sloe gin.

How is it made?

Sloe gin is made by infusing gin with the sloe berries and sugar to produce a liqueur. In Spain, they make Pacharan with the sloe berries; in France, an aperitif called Épine is made with the leaves; in Italy, they make Bargnolino.

Which ones?

“Sloe Gin is a very traditional English drink,” explains James Hayman, one of the family members who runs Hayman’s in London. “In more recent times, Sloe Gin had moved away from the natural product that it was known for to a product that has been artificially flavored.”

Two London gin companies have brought Sloe Gins back to the market: Hayman’s and Plymouth. Both have the goal of returning Sloe Gin production back to a more natural state. Plymouth was available in the U.S. a few years ago and Hayman’s became available in 2014. The Bitter Truth, a German bitters and spirits company, has also launched one called Sloeberry BlueGin made with southern German sloe berries and an Austrian gin distilled by Hans Reisetbauer. These three sloe gins all emphasize the sloe berries and are balanced with a touch of sweetness and the punch of the gin.

James Hayman goes on to say, “Our Sloe Gin returns it to what it was, a very natural product. We steep the sloe berries in our London Dry Gin in 1,000 liter batches and then filter it and add sugar. We don’t add anything else.”

How to drink it?

From the 19th Century onwards, it was traditionally enjoyed as a digestive and a winter warmer. James enjoys it on its own in the colder months “as a perfect pick me up.” But don’t limit it just for the winter months. “In the summer a Sloe Gin Fizz is a very simple and refreshing cocktail. I also like it straight over ice with a squeeze of lime.”


DRINKING GIN IN LONDON

In the spirit of enjoying gin and sloe gin in its hometown, here are three recommendations for where to drink gin in London.

Photograph courtesy of The London Gin Club

Photograph courtesy of The London Gin Club

The London Gin Club

A small gin-focused cocktail bar in the heart of Soho offering over 130 different gins. James Hayman says, “They have a fantastic selection of gins and cocktails.”

22 Great Chapel Street, London W1F 8FR, United Kingdom
T: +44.(0)20.7494.2488 | thelondonginclub.com

Photograph courtesy of Merchant House

Photograph courtesy of Merchant House

Merchant House

Bartender Martin Cate, of Smuggler’s Cove and the soon-to-be-opened Whitechapel in San Francisco, enjoys drinking gin here. “Located off a weird little alley, they really care about rum and gin, which is a happy place for me. It's nicely decorated, it's clubby and pub-like with a terrific selection. Since it's in The City, you'll get trader types here.”

13 Well Court, Off Bow Lane, London EC4M 9DN, United Kingdom
T: +44.(0)20.7332.0044 | www.merchanthouselondon.com

Dukes Bar at Dukes Hotel

Alessandro Palazzi is one of London's old school barmen keeping the tradition of the hotel bar alive and well. He has worked at Dukes Bar in the Dukes Hotel for over 9 years and has a passion for Ian Fleming, James Bond, martinis, and his roving martini trolley. He uses ingredients from near and far, including Sacred Gin, Berry Bros No. 3 Gin, Sacred Vermouth made from English wine, and Italian Amalfi lemons.

35 St James's Place, London SW1A 1NY
T: +44.(0)20.7491.4840 | www.dukeshotel.com/dukes-bar


COCKTAIL RECIPES

Photograph courtesy of Hayman's

Photograph courtesy of Hayman's

The Blackthorn

Recipe courtesy of Hayman’s Gin

Ingredients

- 50ml of Hayman's Sloe Gin
- 5ml Sweet Italian Vermouth
- Dash Orange Bitters

Directions

1) Stir ingredients together in a mixing glass over cubed ice until chilled.
2) Strain and serve into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.
3) Garnish with an orange twist.

Hayman's 1863

Recipe courtesy of Hayman’s Gin

Ingredients

- 12.5ml Hayman's London Dry Gin
- 12.5ml Haymans Sloe Gin
- 12.5ml Elderflower cordial
- Lemon juice from 2 wedges (5 - 7ml)
- Sparkling white wine

Directions

1) Stir first four ingredients over ice.
2) Strain into a chilled coupe.
3) Top up with sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon twist.


Sloe Gin Fizz

Recipe courtesy of Hayman’s Gin

Ingredients

- 50ml Hayman's Sloe Gin
- 30ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- 30ml Sugar
- Soda water
- Lemon slice

Directions

1) Pour ingredients into a collins glass filled with ice and stir.
2) Garnish with a lemon slice.

Katie B.

Recipe courtesy of The Bitter Truth

Ingredients

- 30 ml The Bitter Truth Sloeberry BlueGin
- 30 ml Sweet Red Vermouth
- 30 ml Campari
- Splash Soda Water (Optional)

Directions

1) Build in a tumbler over ice and stir.
2) Add a splash of soda water as desired.


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