Sloe on the uptake: Using Sloe Gin

In case you didn’t know, it’s relatively easy to make sloe gin. All you have to do is locate and forage about 500g of ripe sloe berries, prick each and every single one and then place them in a jar along with 250g castor sugar and 1 litre of gin. Then you shake the jar every day for a whole week and leave in a cool, dark place for 2-3 months before decanting through a muslin into a new bottle.

Now obviously that sounds like the most laborious thing ever and that’s not even taking into account that sloe berries won’t be ready to pick until October/November, so the earliest you can try some homemade sloe gin is January/February.

So why am I even talking about this now? Am I seriously expecting you show interest at this time of year? What is literally even the point of me? And what is the opposite of ‘reactive content’?

As it turns out, I have discovered a far easier and quicker way to get some sloe gin, and that’s just to buy some. I know this because Elephant Gin recently sent me some of theirs and it is DELICIOUS and not at all like homemade sloe gin in my collection. It’s not too sweet, there are no indiscernibly worrying ‘bits’ in it, and it comes in a sleek and stylish package instead of an old, emptied bottle of Tropicana.

Elephant Sloe Gin actually really surprised me with its flavour, having grown accustomed to my homemade stuff for a while. It’s just a very clean, fruity taste, with a sweetness that feels natural and fresh rather than pre-granulated. There’s even just an intriguing touch of spice too, that’s very welcome in this mix of mouth-watering juiciness.

So you can decide to foolishly attempt your own sloe gin or buy a far superior version from Elephant Gin instead. The choice is entirely yours, you idiot/sensible consumer. Either way, here’s some sloe gin cocktails to try.


20ml Sloe Gin
20ml London Dry Gin
20ml Campari
20ml Noilly Prat Ambre Vermouth

Method: Build all ingredients in the glass and stir with ice. Express and garnish with an orange twist.
This is a Sloe Negroni, or a ‘Ne-sloe-ni’ as I was calling it before @theamateurmixologist suggested the much better ‘Negloeni’. The only difference I made here - more for personal taste - is that I swapped out sweet vermouth for amber vermouth to try to counterbalance the sweetness of the liqueur.

Sloe Gin Sour

2oz Sloe Gin
1oz Lemon Juice
1/2oz Sugar Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 Egg White

Method: Shake the first four ingredients with ice, then add egg white and shake again. Then remember that you forgot to take out the ice so do that and then shake again. Then strain into a coupe glass and wonder if your mistake with the ice is the reason for all this lovely foam.
It seems the best-looking drinks are quite often the simplest. In other news, how about that foam, eh? Here’s one for all you shakers, dry-shakers, reverse-dry-shakers and Japanese-hard-shakers. Stirrers need not apply.

Sloe Charlie

1oz Sloe Gin
1oz Apricot Brandy
1oz Lime Juice
1/2oz Sugar Syrup
1/2oz Water

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and double strain into the glass. Garnish with a lime whatever-this-is.
Here’s a drink I pulled together to work with the fruity flavours of the sloe gin, and mostly because I love working with apricot brandy and don’t use it nearly enough. Taking a cue from Diffords, I added water here for extra dilution, but you can omit this if using wet ice.
By the way, in case you needed another reason to buy Elephant Sloe Gin, as with all their products, 15% of the profits go to two foundations to support the preservation of African elephants. And now that I have told you that, you’re basically a terrible person if you DON’T buy some.

Tags: Liqueurs, Sloe Gin, Recipes, Gin

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