Since starting this site I have looked at many gin cocktails, something which is quite amazing given that a few years ago I wouldn’t touch the stuff. I toyed with several ideas for what to cover myself for this theme, from looking at different Martini recipes to doing a taste test of various gins. However, while I’m sure I may eventually get to those topics, today I decided to look at gin from a slightly different angle.
Sloe gin is a traditional English spirit that dates back hundreds of years from the traditional practice of steeping gin in fruits to create the old-fashioned equivalent to flavoured vodkas. Sloe berries, the fruit of the blackthorn bush which is common in rural England, are added to gin along with sugar to produce a deep red liqueur that is astringent and dry, though with an underlying sweetness.
The most famous modern use of sloe gin is the salaciously titled Sloe Screw, which is simply a Screwdriver with the addition of sloe gin. There are numerous additional members of the Screw family, such as the Sloe Comfortable Screw which adds Southern Comfort, but I have dispensed with such frivolity and gone for a cocktail I discovered in Difford’s Guide and adapted slightly to make it just a little less sweet.
- 1½ shots sloe gin
- 1 shot gin
- ¾ shot sweet vermouth
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- Stir all ingredients well with ice and strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange zest.
The Blackthorn English is at once both sweet and tart. It has an amazing smell, and the sloe gin gives it a deep, complex taste. The sweet vermouth adds enough sweetness to pull back the bite of the sloe gin, and the flavours of the two work well together. Meanwhile in the background the orange bitters and zest help cut through the strong flavours, preventing the drink from becoming too rich.
The taste almost reminded me of Pimms, although I think this is more suited to a cold winter evening than the summer afternoons Pimms is traditionally associated with. Overall a delicious cocktail, and a great introduction to sloe gin. I will definitely be exploring it more in the coming weeks and months.
This is, of course, but one of many posts about gin for today’s Mixology Monday. Check back here tomorrow when I will be providing a full run-down of everyone’s entries. If anyone is running a little late, as indeed I am, you probably have about 20 hours left if you want to be included, so get posting!
Update: Huge apologies, but I’m afraid the round-up will have to wait until tomorrow now. There are a lot of entries, and while I have made a start I just don’t have the time tonight to do them all justice. Thank you to everyone that took part, and please do check back tomorrow (that’s a promise this time!).
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