Classic Sloe Gin Fizz
by Josh Goldman, Beverage Manager
The Classic Sloe Gin Fizz is a name that’s been around for so long it doesn’t even need the word “classic” to know its tenure. But what kind of gin is sloe gin, anyway? And what does “sloe” mean? Is it a brand? Is it an ingredient? Is it even gin? Or is it more? The good news is it’s a complex mystery that most bar patrons are curious about and one that every cocktail connoisseur wants to share. So, I’m here to answer the burning question: what exactly is “sloe” gin and why is it in all our favorite cocktails?
Sloe, or Prunus spinosa, is a European native genus of hedgerows that produce wild little “sloe” berries. The word in that context is probably unfamiliar, as they aren’t widely cultivated because the berries taste, for lack of a better word, disgusting, regardless of their charming appearance. Although the unpleasant berry is utterly useless by itself, our friends across the pond figured out a different way of utilizing them in a much more enjoyable fashion: by infusing the delicate berries in gin. This part of sloe gin’s history is dark — as the origins of how and why they decided to create this infusion dates back to the so-called “Gin Craze” when details of this time in Britain are hazy. Nonetheless, for the last few hundred years the Brits have been crafting sloe gin by soaking high-proof gin with sloe berries and sugar, resulting in a tart but perfectly balanced liqueur that has time and time again had even the most gin-defiant drinkers raising their glasses for another round.
Although sloe gin was originally consumed like a whiskey, a wintertime spirit made to warm the soul, the U.S. popularized sloe gin into a summertime smash with the creation of the Classic Sloe Gin Fizz. Because sloe berries are virtually impossible to find in the U.S., spirit aficionados rarely attempt their own infusions, and instead clamor to get their hands on any brand that produces sloe gin the old-fashioned way. Sipsmith is one of those special distilleries — one of the only distilleries that produce Sloe Gin the old-fashioned way. Which Jackson’s Steakhouse is proud to carry along with Plymouth Gin and our own version of a Classic Sloe Gin Fizz!
- 1 ounce Original Plymouth Gin
- 1 ounce Sipsmith Sloe Gin
- 3/4 ounce house citrus
- Sparkling water
Build in a tall glass (without ice at first), combining everything except the sparkling water — stir lightly, add ice to fill, and then top with the sparkling water. Garnish with a lemon wheel and blueberry skewer