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Jun28

Sloe Gin

Sloe gin fizz

Friday was a momentous day in the Bay Area — venerable spirits provider John Walker & Co. received their long-heralded shipment of Plymouth Sloe Gin. As many of you are no doubt aware, there has been a cruel lack of the spirit in the States. And yes, I am aware that Hiram Walker et al. market a product called “sloe gin”; I stand by my previous statement. Rick, Craig, and I have had a Singapore Sling recipe comparison in the works for probably over a year — it was put on hold indefinitely when we discovered that the integral ingredient was not available.

I had a stroke of luck over the holidays when one of my lovely agents (international women of mystery are drawn to the men of kaiserpenguin.com) returned from her travels with a bottle of Gordon’s, so this evening my first course of business was a straight-up taste test. Of the two, Plymouth has a sweeter aroma. The immediate flavor is juicy berries with a sweet red wine finish. Gordon’s has a more pronounced berry flavor, but is less fruity overall, with a much drier finish. Clearly the company’s respective gins play a large part in informing the flavor of the sloe variety.

Next up was a Singapore Sling. As you may soon learn, pinning down a recipe for this thing is like asking Helen Keller to find a braille globe in a room full of basketballs. I prepared Trader Vic’s recipe from his Bartender’s Guide.

Singapore Sling

  • 1 1/2oz gin (used Tanqueray)
  • 1/2oz cherry brandy
  • 1/2oz creme de cassis
  • 1/4oz sloe gin (used Plymouth)
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2oz lemon juice
  • 1t grenadine
  • club soda to top

Lovingly pour each ingredient except the club soda into your cocktail shaker with some ice. When shaking is over, pour into a collins glass and top off with club soda.

Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide, Trader Vic

With a solid serving of gin, subtle citrus undertones, and massive berry flavor (almost like a pleasingly bracing berry lemonade), this recipe is really a perfect hot afternoon cocktail — unfortunately it’s July in San Francisco, so I had to put on my fuzzy slippers to finish consuming it.

Hopefully Plymouth will see the light of day and begin distributing more of their product here in “the colonies” — if my recent visits to John Walker are any indication, there is a strong market here for their product (on any given day I would stop in to inquire, there were no fewer than two or three other people hovering about to ask the same question. Also, they’re limiting purchases to one bottle per person, so bring a friend if you want to stock up — the next shipment is due in August.

KP Questions

What sloe gin have you been using? Or have you been shunning it altogether? What sloe gin cocktails are out there that we should know about?


7 Responses to “Sloe Gin”

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7 Comments to “ Sloe Gin”
  1. RowenNo Gravatar says:

    The cocktailians in SF must’ve scented sloe gin in the air the moment it arrived. By a strange coincidence, I’m reading this post the day after buying my bottle in SF too, but at Plump Jack’s in Noe Valley. My buddy and I used it in the Millionaire Cocktail from Doc’s venerable “Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails.” I used two full ounces of Myers’s, and still could taste the sloe gin. Wonderful stuff. Until I’m able to go to England and pick a bunch of sloes, this will do very nicely.

    I have to say I avoided sloe gin recipes until now cuz there’s some nasty-looking stuff out there. Totally worth the wait. We had a little taste first before we got to work on the Millionaire, and it is indeed warming, as advertised on the back of the bottle. Yup, takes the chill off the SF summer.

  2. AdamNo Gravatar says:

    Good point, Rowen — I’ll have to try some neat and savor its warming effects. But right now I’m running to the liquor cabinet to mix a Millionaire. Marie Brizard’s apricot brandy… I could sip on the bottle all day long.

  3. BKNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve been looking for some sloe gin recipes for some time now, saying to myself “I really want to try some cocktails with sloe gin.” Little did I really know that the junk in my cabinet was unfit for human consumption. Off to San Francisco to pick up a bottle!! :)

  4. You’re making me feel better about moving from the Bay area to Australia now; while good rum is hard to come by here (and expensive!), Sloe Gin is easy. I usually pick up Gordon’s, just because it’s close to hand.

    Try a Sloe Gin Fizz; there are lots of recipes out there, you generally want to go with 3:1 or so of sloe gin to lemon juice, a bit of simple syrup and soda.

    Very good in the summer…

  5. BoozemonkeyNo Gravatar says:

    Back in college I had an old copy of the Mr. Boston guide that I “liberated” from my parents. The first drink I made out of it was a sloe gin fizz — With Mr. Boston sloe gin. That was about 10 years ago, and I can still taste its foul, factory rendered flavor clawing at my taste buds from beyond the grave. The sloe gin fizz I made on Friday was unspeakably better.

    I believe I’m obligated by the city charter to try a San Francisco, equal parts slow gin, sweet and dry vermouth, and both aromatic and orange bitters. I’m also quite interested in giving a Creole Fizz a try — Sloe gin, cream, sugar, lemon juice, and egg white.

  6. MartinNo Gravatar says:

    Six bottles coming to Forbidden Island tomorrow! I’ve been on the waiting list forever. No longer will I have to hoard the bottle I brought back from Plymouth. Victory!

    Not sure what I’ll be doing with it yet- probably a slow gin fizz, but the above San Francisco sounds great. I would prefer that people simply taste the stuff, so it will be a simple recipe.

    The Vic’s recipe you posted above is what we’d make at Vic’s and is now called a Trader Vic’s Sling. Try upping the sloe gin & lime, getting a little Benedictine & Angosturra bitters in there, and dumping the lemon, grenadine, and creme de cassis. Not claiming that’s authentic either, as I’ve more or less given up trying. But it’s all good. Just no pineapple!

  7. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:

    Ha! One step closer to our Sling comparison!

    Coincidentally, I also have two lovely women of mystery (they know who they are) who have been indispensible in procuring hard-to-find spirits for me. What would we do without them???

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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

Contact: rick@kaiserpenguin.com