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.
- 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.
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?