Made from Sloes, sugar and London Dry Gin our Sloe Gin is paler, stronger (27%ABV) and less sweet than the majority of others. You will find this a real warmer and it is perfect out in the field. You may like to try it instead of port but in the summer it is great mixed with Champagne ( a Sloegasm) or as a long drink with either tonic water or bitter lemon.
Sloe Gin is one of the most traditional drinks in England. Some authorities link the rise of Sloe Gin to the Enclosure Acts in the late 18th Century when large amounts of blackthorn hedges were planted as part of the development of hedegrows to separate fields as the thorns kept animals out of the fields.
The Blackthorn (Prunus Spinosa) is a species of wild plum and produces berries known as Sloes. Technically a drupe the sloes are very sour and inedible and only the ingenuity of adding them to Gin with sugar allows us to enjoy the beautiful flavour. Like all pitted fruit the Sloe, like the damson has a stone that we leave in the fruit when we compound our drinks. Many people belive that you should add Almond essence to Sloe Gin. Although I cannot prove this I actually believe this is an attempt to short cut a natural occurence. All stoned fruit contain minute amounts of hydrogen cyanide and after lengthy submerssion in gin this cyanide begins to leach into the drink imparting the bitter almond flavour. However this generally happens only after a long period of time and the good news is that this type of cyanide is not in anyway harmful. However in an attempt to mimic these effects some people started adding almond essence to their sloe gin to copy the flavour of their friends who had left their Sloe gin under the stairs for longer than expected.
Like most of our peers we do not add almond essence- the taste of the natural fruit is what we prefer.