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Spirit Review and Cocktail Recipe: Hayman's Sloe Gin

The 1970s and 1980s are known as the Dark Ages when it comes to cocktails, with one of the main culprits being the ubiquity of cheap artificially flavored liqueurs. What was often forgotten until recently is that dreck was based on fine original spirits with local pride and history. Amaretto is one that immediately comes to mind, but sloe gin is not far behind. The liqueur is best known for the sloe gin fizz cocktail, which was an unfortunate mix of lemon-lime soda and the aforementioned artificial sloe gin. Sadly, what now often happens is we see a great bottle of real sloe gin on the shelf and bypass it as we suppress a shudder, not realizing that the real stuff is quite good. The leader in the category is Hayman’s, and our tasting panel recently sat down with a bottle.

Sloe gin is made from sloe berries, a fruit similar to plums, which are then soaked in gin for several months. For more about that process, check out discussion of it here.

Medium tawny in the glass, legs are evident on the pour. Nose of anise, orange peel, juniper and vanilla. Stewed plums, cassis, coriander, and star anise up front, nutmeg and plum on the mid-palate with a short finish of cola, licorice, and cinnamon.

If you are looking for a cocktail for Hayman’s, you can substitute it for the Averall in this recipe from Patrick Riley we previously featured here. You could also make a sloe gin fizz, but do it the right way.

Classic Sloe Gin Fizz:

1 ½ ounces sloe gin

1 ounce lemon juice

¾ ounce simply syrup

Club soda, to top

Add the first three ingredients in a shaker filled with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds. Pour in a Collins glass, and top with club soda. Garnish with a lemon wedge and a cherry.

Charted Details

Spirit: Sloe Gin

From: Hayman’s, England

ABV: 26%

Price: $28

Rating: 91 pts

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