How’s Your Drink? Mixologist Rick Turner is Taking the Sloe Road
It’s taken some time, but the cocktail world is seeing a renaissance in sloe gin.
Wait–I know what you’re thinking.
Eeeewwwwww, Sloe Gin. Or maybe, Nah, I don’t like gin.
Either way, you’ve got this one wrong.
The Sloe Ginn Fizz is a classic cocktail–classic because it’s based on gin (by definition, one of the classic spirits) and incredibly simple to make. But to make it, you’ve got to have sloe gin. Not gin, but sloe gin, which doesn’t taste like gin at all. Not even close. (Though my favorite brand, Plymouth, is produced by the same company that makes the deliciously awesome Plymouth Gin.)
What’s the difference between gin and sloe gin? Gin is distilled from grain and flavored with herbs and botanicals. Sloe gin is based on gin but flavored with sugar, cinnamon, spices and sloe berries, the fruit of the blackthorn tree, which is native to the British Isles and is more like a large shrub than a big tree. Those berries are called sloe berries. The origins of the name “sloe” are rooted in Western Europe. Unless you are headed for a stint on Jeopardy, I’ll spare you the details.
The Sloe Gin Fizz gets its flavor from sloe gin, its acidity from citrus juice, and its kick from real gin. The fizz comes from club soda and a vigorous shaking.
Try the classic Sloe Gin Fizz:
1 oz. Plymouth Sloe Gin
1oz. Plymouth Gin
1 oz. Lemon Juice
¾ oz simple syrup
a generous splash of club soda
Shake and strain into a highball glass filled with ice and top it all off with soda water (by the way, thats the fizz part).
If you want, skip the ounce of gin and double up on the Sloe stuff. Either way, this one’s a classic.You should be able to find Plymouth Sloe Gin at Sige’ls. Call first because this stuff is hard to find. I’ve been assured that if your local store doesn’t stock it, they’ll order a bottle just for you.
Rick Turner is a Certified Specialist in Spirits (Society of Wine Educators) and a Certified Sommelier (Court of Master Sommeliers). He writes about cocktails for EscapeHatchDallas. In his spare time, Turner is the general manager of Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas.