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Oct 6, 2011 07:32 PM

Sloe Gin?

Why is it so hard to find? I've gone to 2 'well stocked' liquor stores and can't find it.
I want to buy a small bottle so i can try it.... does such a thing exist? I had a few cocktails with it and want to add it to my growing bar.

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  1. Very limited brand selection in Iowa [Paramount and Arrow at my well-stocked liquor store].

    1. I haven't seen anything smaller than a 750mL. Don't buy the cheap stuff (Leroux, Dekuypers) for it is made with artificial flavors and meant for Alabama Slammers and not much better than that.

      Plymouth Sloe Gin is the most widely available one here in the US. Bitter Truth and others make one too. Averell Damson Gin is similar and is made here in the US (New York state).

      If you can get bottles shipped, drinkupny or other reputable websites will send it. Otherwise, ask the buyer if they can get you a bottle. Unfortunately, the real stuff is somewhat pricey at $30+ a bottle from what I recall.

      11 Replies
      1. re: yarm

        When I was young my dad used to buy Jacquin's - both sloe gin and blackberry brandy - I would imagine both were awful, but I loved them when I was 12 or 13 and would sneak some then add water so they wouldn't notice it missing. i am sure it worked well ;-)

        1. re: yarm

          I've been tempted by Averell Damson Gin. Does it have a bitter component like sloe gin? Would it sub more as sloe gin or more as plum liqueur or as (shiver) slivowitz? Care to share any thoughts or do you know where I could read more about it?

          1. re: EvergreenDan

            No one will come out and say that you can use it in sloe gin recipes, but Averell Gin does taste like sloe gin but less bitter and sugared down. Perhaps a little more plum than sloe gin. I haven't had slivowitz, but I have tasted Averell and had it in a drink or two (haven't bought it yet, but came close). The first I learned of it was when I had a guest writer for the blog, Sarah Lohman of the Four Pounds Flour blog. Sarah used it to make a Fizz Punch using a sloe gin recipe. You can read what Sarah had to say about it:

            The good thing about the Averell, beside that the owner is a cool guy (met him at Tales of the Cocktail), the product is tasty, there's a bit of history to it, there is a lot of care put into acquiring the fruit, infusing it, and the like, is that the price point is much cheaper than Plymouth's sloe gin! I think I saw it at Mall Discount Liquors in Fresh Pond (not the cheapest place) for $27-28/bottle where Plymouth Sloe Gin was closer to $40.

            Interestingly, when I was looking up the two types of fruits, there are recipes that use both sloe and damson in their liqueurs.

            1. re: yarm

              I think when I finish my Plymouth Sloe Gin (which takes me quite a while), I'll try this next. I do like the bitterness of sloe gin, but then I don't like the (excessive-to-me) sweetness. Looking over some of my sloe gin recipes, I think this Damson Gin would work very well indeed. Plus I'm thinking it might be nice with Campari. What isn't? Thanks for the information.

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              1. re: EvergreenDan

                This conversation is tempting me to stop by that liquor store to buy a bottle. There's a Phil Ward tequila-sloe gin drink in one of the Food & Wines: Cocktails books that I've been eying.

                1. re: yarm

                  I meant one of the absinthe books. The one in F&W is the Lipspin that was actually pretty good using Plymouth Sloe Gin.

                  1. re: yarm

                    Wow. Tequila, sloe gin, and Cynar. Didn't see that coming.

                    Let us know how the other one turns out.

                    1. re: EvergreenDan

                      PS Tried Lipspin last night. Pretty darn good. I was skeptical with two sweet ingredients and no acid, but there is enough bitterness to pull it off. A nice slow-sipping complex bitter-tinged cocktail. Thanks for pointing it out. I used a reposado (because I have lots of it), but a peppery sharp blanco (as written) would probably be even better.

                      Can anyone explain the name to me?

                      by Phil Ward, Mayahuel, New York, NY

                      1 1/2 oz Blanco tequila
                      3/4 oz Cynar
                      3/4 oz Sloe gin
                      1 oz Maraschino cherry (as garnish)

                      Stir, strain, straight up, coupe, garnish

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                      1. re: EvergreenDan

                        Just saw that over at Cocktail Virgin/Slut and am very intrigued.
                        What might a decent (albeit extremely affordable) peppery sharp blanco be?

                        I'm just hoping I can find Plymouth Sloe Gin here in Prohibition circa 1922 Pennsylvania. The idea of Jacquin's makes me gaggy.

                        1. re: isadorasmama

                          If Pennsylvania is very limited, maybe you could tell us what reasonable blancos are available to you. There are so many to choose from that usually only a few are actually available to you. I didn't mean to imply that you needed a particular blanco, but rather that the bright pepper of an unaged tequila might go better than the reposado that I used.

                          Here's the link you found: Worth reading....

              2. re: yarm

                Its been a while since I had a shot of sliovowitz, but its dry....not too sweet and quite the burn going down.....

          2. What does it taste like straight up? I had it in a Boston Cocktail with Apricot Brandy.... so it was sweet and easy to kick back......

            I like Gin..... is it anything like Gin?

            2 Replies
            1. re: cheesehead in recovery

              The Plymouth product has a strong berry flavor not much like anything else I can describe, but with bitterness in the background, and moderately (not excessively sweet). It seems to taste the color that it is, if that makes sense. It is based on gin, but the gin botanicals are way, way in the background because the sloe flavor is so dominant.

              It is as much gin as Cointreau is like vodka.

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              1. re: cheesehead in recovery

                Gin is often the base spirit which is used to infuse the berries. It's hard to say how sweet it is for the berries are rather tart and require a lot of sugar to make them palatable.

                We did a lot of booze shopping this weekend, and this is the general trend:
                $27 Averell Damson Gin -- rather tasty
                $41 Plymouth Sloe Gin -- most solid & available sloe gin on the market
                $52 Bitter Truth Sloe Gin -- BT makes good products but their price point for their liqueurs sucks. Haven't tried this one though.