Recent interest in 19th-century drinking has brought this winter delicacy back from obscurity.
Those who are familiar with the joys of sloe gin will be quite happy to learn that a very good version of it has finally arrived on the LCBO’s general list—Hayman’s Sloe Gin.
Since few people have a good grasp of what it is, we’ll explain. Sloe gin is made from a large berry, often called a plum, which isn’t terribly tasty on its own. But in many parts of Europe, these berries are gathered up and made palatable by being turned into booze. In Spain, it’s called patcharan; in Italy, prunella. In England, the sloe is used to infuse gin. As the story goes, it was once passed off as port, which is how it became a lowbrow drink.
Recent interest in 19th-century drinking has brought sloe gin back from obscurity. Traditionally it’s enjoyed in the winter, but if you’re craving a little refreshment, you can transform this berry booze into a Sloe Gin Fizz, which has the added bonus of lemon, which, of course, helps stave off the scurvy.
Sloe Gin Fizz
2 oz Hayman’s Sloe Gin + ½ oz lemon juice + 1 teaspoon superfine sugar + soda water
Shake sloe gin, lemon juice and sugar with rigour. Strain into champagne flute. Fill with soda water.
Hayman’s Sloe Gin, $23.25. LCBO 302679.