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Sloe Gin

Sloe Gin

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Makes 1 Servings

Sloe gin, used in this drink from Josephine House, Austin, is a liqueur made by steeping sloe berries (sour wild plums) in gin with some sugar.


  • 2 ounces sloe gin (preferably Plymouth)

  • 3–4 oz. tonic water

  • 1 lemon wedge

  • Dash of orange bitters

Recipe Preparation


  • Add sloe gin and dash of orange bitters to a rocks glass filled with ice. Add tonic water; stir to combine. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Recipe by Josephine House in Austin, TX


Photos by Danny Kim

Reviews Section

Four Classic Sloe Gin Cocktail Recipes

Scarlet of hue and perfumed with rich berry flavours, sloe gin is delicious enough to sip neat (or from a hip flask during your autumnal rambles).

But it’s also a staple in a number of classic cocktails. When you next feel like shaking yourself a seasonally appropriate sip, turn to these four classic sloe gin cocktail recipes. Whether frothy with fizz or sultry with Scottish whisky, they show off sloe gin’s wonderful breadth and complexity.

6 of the best Sloe Gin Cocktails

Sloes are fruit from the Blackthorn bush and are very common in England.

Don’t let their blueberry-like appearance fool you! Inside each fruit is a very large stone and the skin has extremely high levels of tannin. Not something you’d want to eat on a regular basis.

However, when steeped in gin for anywhere between 3 and 12 months (depending on the producer’s preference) and sweetened with sugar sloe gin liqueur is hard to beat.

This spirit was synonymous with Christmas (my dad used to make his own), but the current cocktail trend means we are seeing more sloe gin cocktails on bar menus.

Here are 6 of the best Sloe Gin Cocktails

Sloe Gin Fizz

A combination of gin, sloe gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and soda water. The Sloe Gin Fizz is a delicious alternative to a G&T. You can find the recipe here.

Sloe Gin Negroni

Slightly less boozy than the original, but just as tasty. Instead of 30ml gin use 15ml gin and 15ml sloe gin. You might want to pull back on the sweet vermouth if you are using a particularly sweet sloe gin. You can find more Negroni recipes here.

Blackthorn Cocktail

A gorgeous alternative to a Negroni for all you campari-haters. Sweet vermouth and sloe gin. Sublime. Find the recipe here.

Charlie Chaplin

Named after the silent movie star who was at the height of his fame when this cocktail was created, this is an unlikely combination of sloe gin, and apricot brandy liqueur. The sweetness is counterbalanced bu freshly squeezed lime juice. You can find the recipe here.

Mulled Sloe Gin

Move over Mulled wine there is a new hot toddy in town. Mulled Sloe Gin is hard to beat on a cold winter’s evening. Find the recipe here.

Sloe Gin Champagne Fizz

Champagne and sloe gin? Oh yes! A delicious cocktail created by Jared Brown, Master Distiller at Sipsmith. Find the recipe here.

5 Prosecco and Sloe Gin Cocktail Recipes to Make at Home

We love picking ripe sloe berries and making our own sloe gin, but it is just as easy to buy sloe gin from one of the best distilleries in the world, cutting out a lot of steps in the process. Today, we are going to be taking a look at some of the best prosecco and sloe gin recipes.

1. A Prosecco Sloe Royale

Sipsmith Sloe Gin & Prosecco – Credit: Sipsmith

Traditionally, a Sloe Royale would be made with champagne and used to celebrate special occasions and toast ornate events. For a festive touch, we would recommend crafting this festive sloe gin cocktail with prosecco, adding a twist to the classic recipe.

1. Take a traditional champagne flute and pour in your Sipsmith Sloe Gin. You might want to experiment with this ratio, as some people prefer stronger ratios of gin to prosecco.
2. Top your glass up with prosecco.
3. For an additional festive touch, you could consider adding some edible glitter into the mix.

Sipsmith Sloe Gin can be purchased for £23 by clicking here.

2. A Sloe Gin Fizz Delight

We are big fans of mixing traditional gins with sloe gins, especially when the colder months of the year mean that you require a little bit of an extra pick-me-up. In this cocktail recipe, we combine two of our favourite gins, each containing a plethora of different botanicals.

– 10ml Monkey 47 Gin
– 25ml Monkey 47 Sloe Gin
– 10ml Lemon Juice
– 5ml Sugar Syrup
– 100ml Prosecco

1. Half-fill your cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in your Monkey 47 Gin, Monkey 47 Sloe Gin, lemon juice and sugar syrup. Shake until all of your ingredients have combined.
2. Pour your mixture into your favourite glass. We would recommend using a champagne flute if you are celebrating.
3. Top off your cocktail with prosecco. You might want to experiment with the ratio until you find something that really suits you.

Monkey 47 Gin can be purchased for £35 by clicking here and Monkey 47 Sloe Gin can be purchased for £39 by clicking here.

3. A Winter Warmer

As the winter draws closer, we love seeing cocktails that really highlight the colours of the season, whilst highlighting the flavour of sloe berries. This particular cocktail is known for its vibrant colour, with the raspberry puree adding a seasonal touch.

– 30ml Elephant Sloe Gin
– 100ml Prosecco
– 10ml Raspberry Puree
– 10ml Sugar Syrup

Elephant Sloe Gin can be purchased for £27 by clicking here.

1. Taking your favourite cocktail glass, pour in your Elephant Sloe Gin, raspberry puree and sugar syrup.
2. Combine all of your ingredients using a bar spoon.
3. Top your glass off with prosecco.
4. If you wish to, perhaps garnish your cocktail with some fresh raspberries to really hone in on those flavours and complement the colour of your cocktail.

4. A Sloe Gin Fizz

Photo Credit: Pickerings

If you are a fan of using egg whites in your cocktails, then this Sloe Gin Fizz cocktail recipe might be a great option for you. Combining the delicate aftertaste of Pickering’s Sloe Gin with the subtle sharpness of lemon juice, this is a great option for people who are looking for a party cocktail to serve to their guests.

– 25ml Pickering’s Sloe Gin
– 25ml Lemon Juice
– 100ml Prosecco
– 1 Egg White

1. Pour your Pickering’s Sloe Gin, lemon juice and prosecco into your favourite cocktail shaker. Shake until the ingredients have combined.
2. Once your ingredients have combined, add ice and shake again.
3. Strain your mixture into your favourite cocktail glass.
4. Top your drink off with prosecco.

Pickering’s Sloe Gin can be purchased online for around £21 by clicking here.

5. Pomegranate and Prosecco

– 25ml 6 O’clock Sloe Gin
– 50ml Pomegranate Juice
– 75ml Prosecco

1. Prepare your favourite cocktail glasses.
2. Pour in your 6 O’clock Gin and your pomegranate juice. Using a bar spoon, give your ingredients a stir so that they combine.
3. Top your drink off with prosecco.
4. If you wish to, perhaps garnish your cocktail with some fresh pomegranate seeds.

6 O’Clock Sloe Gin can be purchased online for around £19 by clicking here.

Crafting your own Cocktails

We would highly recommend experimenting with some of the flavours that can be found in this list, adding your own personal touch to create a concoction that is truly yours. You might just find something that you love. For a touch of inspiration, take a look at some of our winter cocktails.

3. Sloe Brandy (or Sherry)

Happily, leftover berries from sloe gin can also be used to re-macerate in other spirits. Brandy is a fine and Christmassy choice: leave yours to steep with 500g of leftover sloe gin berries, red wine, and a wee bit of sugar. In a month or two, you’ll have another burgundy-hued treat to toast with this winter. Gin-soaked berries can also be added, with a bit of sugar, to a bottle of good-quality sherry, in what’s sure to make for a well-received gift.

Traditional Sloe Gin Recipes – How to Make Sloe Gin

These traditional sloe gin recipes come from my grandfather’s wine recipes book. His notes were often short as they were aids for him rather than meant for publication so I’ve expanded and clarified them to make things easier for beginners.

Sloes are the fruits of the blackthorn tree. They’re related to damsons and plums but they’re very different in flavour. Sloes are very bitter and sharp – not a fruit you can eat off the tree! They do sweeten somewhat after they’ve been frosted. Sloes are more a large berry, the large ones being just half an inch in diameter.

The biggest difficulty with sloes is picking them. The blackthorn, as the name suggests, has a very dark bark and really nasty spines. The spines go right through gloves so it’s just a matter of being very, very careful.

If you do get the thorns in you, take care how you pull them out. They have a nasty habit of the tip breaking off and remaining under the skin where they fester. Like a splinter, it’s a needle and tweezers job to get them out.

They do make a decent jam and a wine as well as sloe gin or vodka. It’s important to harvest them when they are ripe. They start off green but turn a deep blue to black colour when ready to pick in October or November.

For both recipes a large Kilner jar is ideal but some of the best sloe gin I tested was made in a washed-out lemonade bottle with a screw-top!

Ingredients for Sloe Gin Recipe 1

This recipe calls for bitter almonds which are very difficult to obtain but you can substitute a flavouring. The reason they’re so difficult to obtain is that they’re very poisonous. They contain a chemical that turns into cyanide and 50 bitter almonds will kill most adults and as few as 5 could kill a child. However, they do have a distinctive flavour.

What can I do with the leftover sloe berries from sloe gin? - Sloe Port and sloe chocolate

Us permaculture types like to get the most from our harvest. Remember in the previous blog post, I told you to save those sloes for next time? Well now you get to make these delicious things out of them too.

Sloe port recipe

In this recipe the sloes are re-macerated with red wine & sugar and then the resultant drink is fortified with a little brandy. The resultant drink will come out at around 15-20% alcohol by volume depending on which wine & brandy you use.

It tastes delicious, like a port with a lovely gentle sloe edge.

You can add sugar to taste. I've included a lower amount than the sloe gin recipe, increase it if you prefer.

You'll need the container you used for the sloe gin to make this in and then bottles in which to store your 'port'.

To make about 1 litre you'll need:

  • About 500g sloes left over from your gin above
  • 750ml (1 standard bottle) of red wine
  • About 100g sugar
  • 200ml brandy
  1. Add the sloes, sugar and wine to your container. Seal and shake daily for 6-8 weeks, keeping it in a cool, dark place.
  2. Taste and adjust sugar if you think necessary.
  3. At the end of this time, drain the sloes off the liquid through a double layer of scalded muslin.
  4. Add the brandy and mix well.
  5. Pour into your clean presentation bottles.

How to make sloe chocolates

This is my interpretation of an idea I saw in Alys Fowler's new book The Thrifty Forager .

  1. Take your sloes from the above recipes and lay them in a single layer on some greaseproof paper in a tray or box with sides.
  2. Sprinkle over some ground cinnamon and some finely grated orange rind.
  3. Melt some good quality fair trade organic dark chocolate in a saucepan or bowl over a pan of simmering water.
  4. Pour the chocolate evenly over the sloes.
  5. Put the tray or box in the freezer until the chocolate is hard.

When you are ready to eat, break into chunks remembering that the sloes still have stones in them. The chocolate goes extremely well with the sloe port you've just made.

Sloe gin is a red colored liqueur flavored with sloe berries, the fruit of the blackthorn, a relative of the plum. Sloe gin has an alcohol content from between 15 to 30 percent by volume.

The traditional way of making sloe gin is to infuse gin with the berries. Sugar is required to ensure that the sloe juices are extracted from the fruit. Almond flavoring may be added.

To make sloe gin, the sloe berries must be ripe. They are traditionally picked in late October or early November after the first frost of winter. A wide necked jar that can be sealed is needed. Prick each berry and half fill the wide necked jar with the pricked berries. Folklore has it that when making sloe gin, you shouldn't prick the berries with a metal fork, unless it is made of silver, thus conventional wisdom is to use a wooden tooth pick or similar.

For each pint (0.5 litre) of sloes, add 4oz (100g) of caster sugar and fill the jar with gin. Seal the jar and turn it several times to mix, then store the jar in a cool, dark place. Repeat the turning every day for the first two weeks, then each week, until at least three months have passed.

The gin should now be a deep ruby red. Pour off the liqueur and discard the berries (putting them on your compost heap is good as it gives the blackbirds and robins an unusual thrill in the middle of winter - it does not appear to harm them). The liqueur can be filtered, but it is best decanted back into clean containers and left to stand for another week. Careful decanting can then ensure that almost all sediment is eliminated, leaving a clear liqueur.

Made in this way, the alcohol extracts an almond-like essence from the sloes, avoiding the need to add almond essence. Home made sloe gin is a much more complex and subtle drink than that produced commercially, and is well worth the effort. The sweetness can be adjusted to taste at the end, but sufficient sugar is required at the start of the process to ensure full extraction of flavour from the sloes.

Sloe gin cheesecake

Lightly grease and line the base and sides of a 20.5cm (8in) round springform tin (see GH Tip) with baking parchment.

Whiz the biscuits in a food processor until they are finely crushed - alternatively, crush them with a rolling pin. Add the melted butter to the processor or bowl and pulse/mix until the mixture clumps together. Press into the base of the prepared tin and chill until needed.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, mascarpone, cream, icing sugar, vanilla and lemon zest with an electric hand whisk until smooth and just stiff. Stir through the sloe gin and spoon over the chilled base and level with the back of the spoon. Smooth over the top to level. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 6hr or overnight.

To make the drizzle mix the blackcurrant jam with gins and set aside until needed.

To serve, remove from the tin, making sure to remove the baking paper and spoon the drizzle over the cheesecake and sprinkle with zest.

Like this? You'll love.

Before you start, clip the base of your springform tin in the wrong way around, so the raised lip is at the bottom of the tin (that way, you won't have to lift the cheesecake out over the lip when you come to serve it)

Traditional Sloe Gin Recipe

This Sloe Gin recipe differs from the modern versions, in that traditionally very little sugar is used. This allows the true flavours of the sloes and gin to come through, rather than being masked by lots of sugar.

Not that the modern versions aren’t nice, they are. But this sloe gin recipe is a little bit different and takes us back to how we used to drink it back in the old days, when more folk lived closer to the land.

Traditional Sloe Gin Recipe Ingredients

Traditional Sloe Gin Recipe Instructions

  1. Take your frozen sloes and batter them with a rolling pin until smashed up, then transfer them to a Kilner jar.
  2. Add the sugar, and then pour in the gin.
  3. Shake vigourously and leave for a minimum of 3 months, but best if left for a year. Shake occasionally when you remember.
  4. Check the taste and if you feel like it, add more sugar if you think it needs it. But really this is a different Sloe Gin recipe to the one you are mostly used to.
  5. Strain and bottle for later use.

Share Your Experience. Leave A Note For Others

Hi Robin,I’ve just picked my sloe berries and now going to pop them in the freezer over night and give your recipe a try.
Now I’m off out to get some rose hips and make some rose hip syrup which I’ve already tried and is very good.

A sloe gin recipe I found says that stones must be removed by six months, otherwise it leaches out the ? Arsenic.thus the cause of headaches if drunk then.I waited till first frost as my uncle always told me to do before picking the sloes this year,All my bushes were empty. I think the birds picked them.

I have been wondering lately about the large quantity of white sugar I put into sloe and damsons gins so will try this reduced-sugar recipe next year. Thanks Robin.

Watch the video: Joe Bonamassa Official - Sloe Gin - Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks