Holiday Gift Guide
Sloe Gin Cocktails

Gin & June Part 1, London Dry & Plymouth Gins
Gin & June Part 2, Genever
Gin & June Part 3, Old Tom Gin

For the fourth and final installment of Gin & June, I've decided that sloe is the way to goe. I am, of course, referring to sloe gin.

Of all the gins discussed this month, sloe gin is the odd man out. This is because sloe gin is really a flavored liqueur that has gin as its base spirit. Traditionally sloe gin is made by infusing gin with sloe berries, which are the plum-like tart and astringent fruits of the blackthorn plant. The result is an intensely sweet, deep burgundy colored liqueur that tastes like tart plums. Sloe gin made in the traditional manner often has a light almond essence as well, which is a result of the flavor from the stone of the fruit extracted by the alcohol it had been sitting in.

Most modern commercial iterations of sloe gin are not worth the price of their bottle caps, as they are often colored and flavored artificially and use cheap grain neutral spirits like vodka as the base. Thankfully for the first time in decades we can toss aside those acrid commercial imitations and get the real traditional stuff, now that Plymouth Sloe Gin has finally become available in the U.S. as of last year, albeit in limited supplies.

Since it is a liqueur, sloe gin has a lower alcohol content than other gins, usually ranging between 30-60 proof. Thus sloe gin is not a gin in the traditional sense. Nonetheless it works wonders when used as a flavoring component to complement other base spirits in cocktails.

That brings us to this week's cocktails featuring sloe gin. The first cocktail is the Ruby Fizz, which is variation of the classic Sloe Gin Fizz.

Ruby Fizz (pictured above, right)
2 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
1 oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz berry syrup
1 egg white (don't be squeamish, just use fresh eggs)
chilled club soda to top

Tools: shaker, strainer

Glass: highball

Fill a highball glass with ice. Place everything except club soda in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously until your hand freezeth over. Strain into your glass and top with club soda.

You could go without the egg white if you're really opposed to it, but I think the egg white creates such a nice rich frothy top that when combined with the berry flavor and the tartness of the sloe gin, tastes and feels like a snow cone for adults. And if you like yours stiffer and less sweet, simply replace up to half of the sloe gin with Plymouth Gin or another gin of your preference.

The next cocktail is a variation of the classic Rum Sour, which I call the Anejo Sour.

Anejo Sour (pictured above, left)
1 3/4 oz anejo rum (I used Don Q Grand Anejo)
3/4 oz Plymouth Sloe Gin
½ oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water)
½ oz fresh lime juice
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
chilled club soda to top

Tools: shaker, strainer

Glass: chilled sour glass

Place everything except club soda in a shaker with ice and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is ice cold and frosty. Strain into your glass and top with club soda.

The Anejo Sour departs from a traditional Rum Sour in a number of ways, though it still remains within the traditional boundaries of the sour style of drinks. Most obviously is the addition of sloe gin, and using anejo rum instead of a light rum. You don't have to use an expensive anejo rum, but I particularly enjoy the taste of the Don Q Anejo combined with the sloe gin.

I also felt that a dash of Peychaud's rounded out the drink in a way that I otherwise missed without it. And although sours do not traditionally call for the addition of soda or seltzer, I think a splash of soda in a sour so immediately upgrades the drink from pedestrian to peerless that it should be a compulsory addition.

That wraps up Happy Hour's Gin & June series, which I hope was edutaitional (not a typo). I've not yet decided what will be in store for next week. Perhaps I'll do a summer cocktail of some sort--that is, if summer decides to show up in NYC this year. Cheers!

*Paystyle was born in Tehran and grew up in Los Angeles (aka Tehrangeles) before moving to Brooklyn with his wife and co-pilot Vanessa Bahmani who provides the stunning photography of Pay's cocktail concoctions. Return every Wednesday for his weekly Happy Hour column.
Column: Happy Hour


  • Fascinating post. Coming from the West Coast I had no idea what Sloe Gin was. Thank you for the recipe and information!

    Phoo-D on

  • Phoo-D – Thanks for reading! I like the concept of your blog too. Believe it or not, even in NYC you sometimes have to mail order ingredients.

    Paystyle on

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published