Sloe Gin & Sloe Gin Fizz

The Sloe Gin Fizz is most certainly the greatest prodigy of Sloe Gin, that pinkish red concoction made of Sloe Berries. The sloe berry, sadly, is not grown in the US, and thus, authentic Sloe Gin is imported from its homeland in the  U.K.

But don’t let this lack of native Sloe Gin stop you from enjoying a Sloe Gin Fizz, one of the most popular US Cocktails before the Prohibition dried up the drink.  At least the legal drink. Now, thankfully, there is a decent gin on the market, Plymouth Gin.

Here’s a classic recipe for the famous Slow Gin Fizz, from Tim Daley’s Bartender’s Encyclopedia, published in 1903.

Sloe Gin Fizz Recipe
Use a mixing glass
½ spoonful of sugar dissolved in a little seltzer water
3 dashes of lemon juice
½ glass of fine ice
1 wine glass of sloe gin [2 ounces]
shake well, strain into a fizz glass, fill with seltzer, and serve.

And what isn’t to enjoy about this ruby frothy drink?

Arrow Sloe Gin Advertisement, Featuring the Sloe Gin Fizz from Life Magazine, June 12, 1950

Sloe Gin a Cordial of Yesteryear

In case you get your hands on some Sloe Berries, are found on hedgerows of Blackthorn bushes that separate lanes and roads in the United Kingdon. Sloe Berries can be found in the countryside in the UK, and Sloe Gin, at least for hundreds of years, could be found in any decent home’s pantry. This ruby red drink was traditionally a cordial, served on its own. A temptation for the ladies, but certainly not abhorred by the men. Traditionally served with cakes and biscuits, it eventually found its way into American cocktail culture, and into all sorts of Sloe Gin cocktails, most famously the Sloe Gin fizz.

Here’s a traditional recipe for Sloe Gin, with hints and tips for the home cook included.  But any good home has its own secrets for this delicious cordial.  Good luck prying them.  Though a few tumblers of a Sloe Gin Fizz might help your quest.

Sloe Gin Recipe

Recipe for Sloe Gin, as found in an early recipe from 1897, in the book Cakes and Ale by Edward Spencer.

Here goes the Sloe Gin Recipe.

All that is necessary to be done is to allow 1 lb of sugar (white) to I lb of sloes.  Half fill a bottle – which need not necessarily be a wide-mouthed one –with sugared fruit and “top up” with gin.  If the sloes have been pierced, the liquor will be ready for use in two or three months, but do not hurry it.

If you take a look at other Sloe Gin Recipes, the quantity of sloe berries to sugar fluctuates.  But one thing is clear: prick the sloe berries to release their juice, as well as their color.  Do this with a needle, or the thorn of a sloe berry itself. Secondly, if you pick the sloe berries yourself, wait until the first frost of the year, most likely in November. Thirdly, please enjoy this fine drink!