Ginuary 28th: Sloe Gin Fizz.

Since acquiring some sloe gin earlier this month, all I’ve done is make a ridiculously delicious dessert with it, so tonight I thought it time I address a classic, while also giving a quick educational spiel on sloe gin.

See, the thing is, sloe gin isn’t technically gin. Well, kind of. Look—it is, but technically it’s a liqueur: it’s gin, but that gin’s been flavoured with sloe berries. Sloe berries are the small fruits that come from blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) shrubs. They’re a relative of plums, but the berries are a lot smaller and in the same way that cumquats are the smaller, tarter cousin of mandarins, so are sloes to plums. That’s my analogy and I’m sticking to it.

When I say the gin is “flavoured” with these berries, what actually happens is that the berries are soaked in the gin for months, with some sugar to help extract the juice from the berries (and let’s face it, it also helps to sweeten the liqueur).

Most sloe gins are homemade, at least in areas where hedgerows are native. There are a few commercial sloe gins produced across the world… and, as far as I’m aware, the only one produced in Australia is right here in Tasmania, by McHenry Distillery. It’s not that surprising that down south’s where it’s at—Tassie is the corner of the country with a climate most fitting for blackthorns to grow. I have it on good authority that Bill McHenry’s sloe berries are all authentically foraged, too… and I was pleased as punch to get to stir a soaking vat of sloe on my visit to McHenry’s earlier this month.

Sloe Gin Fizz

 

Add all the ingredients except the soda to a shaker and fill with cracked ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled highball glass (no ice). Top with soda, making sure you get a decent fizz out of it—splash it in there!

 
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My mistake was to use ice in my glass, but that’s always the way when you rush around trying to settle on one of many different recipes out there. Ah, the joy of a real classic that nobody can quite agree on. What should be easy enough to agree on is that fizzes should be sans ice in the glass, and historically were a morning drink—a hair of the dog, if you will. Get fizzed and you’ll be right for the day, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

I didn’t have any issue causing a proper fizz with the soda water I used. This was my first time playing with Daylesford & Hepburn’s wares and it was a real treat—beautiful fizzy water that was up to the task. I’ve got some more lovely bottles to play with if I can squeeze them in to the rest of Ginuary, too. Fingers crossed!

Now pick up that fizz and slam it down. No time for mucking about.