Sloe Gin Fizz.
Like Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail, Frodo Baggins and the One Ring, Don Quixote and Dulcinea...or was that a windmill...I was questing for a Sloe Gin Fizz.
Sloe gin is an old English tipple, and a 1940 article from Esquire calls it a handsome, maroon-hued gin of tangy charm which is the offspring of mating Old Man Dry and Miss Blackthorn-Berry of the plum family. Whatever that's supposed to mean.
I really don't know why I got a bee in my bonnet and decided I needed this. The allure of the mysterious, I guess.
Since real sloe gin is not being imported into the US, and any 'sloe' gin you may find here has most likely seen more of the inside of a chemical plant than an actual sloe, I was in a predicament.
The answer to most predicaments is, if you want it done right, you should do it yourself. And from scratch.
For sloe gin, I mean: find a blackthorn bush and pick some sloes. It doesn't get much more from-scatch than that. Fortunately, I could. And I did.
After several weeks of shaking (good for the triceps), the sloe gin has matured and we are at the moment of truth.
First, I had a taste-off.
Great for your hip flask and on country walks.
I kid you not.
It is quite noticable that the color is remarkably different. As is the viscosity.
Mine is a very bright, deep ruby red, whereas the Sloe with Gin is tawny, almost burgundy, and is much more syrupy and thick.
The bought Sloe with Gin is quite sweet, as I would have guessed from its thick texture. It tastes a lot like port, actually, with a deep fruity honey cedar flavor.
My sloe gin is much less sweet, and the alcohol has a little more of a kick. The fruit flavors come through more, and it tastes of plum, rasberry and pine. The resinous taste is quite a nice contrast to the slight sweetness and fruit, and not at all what you would expect from such an agressively bright color.
My verdict: both good, but I prefer the less-sweet, less-syrupy homemade version.
Drink straight up as an aperitif or digestif, or use in a mixed drink.
My favorite drink at the moment is to dilute 2 ounces of Sloe Gin with 4 ounces of highly sparkling water. Garnish with a rosemary sprig to highlight the piney aspects of the sloe.
I call it a Sloe Rosey Baby.