What is Sloe Gin? The secrets of a fruity elixir!

What is Sloe Gin? The secrets of a fruity elixir!

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What is Sloe Gin? The secrets of a fruity elixir!

There is a hidden gem in the world of gin that deserves attention and appreciation: Sloe Gin. With its deep ruby colour, lush fruity flavours and rich history, Sloe Gin offers a unique and enchanting experience for spirits and cocktail lovers alike. What is Sloe Gin and how does it differ from other gins? This blog will tell you everything you need to know about Sloe Gin! 

What is Sloe gin?  

Sloe gin, what exactly is it? Although the name suggests it is a gin, it is generally considered more of a liqueur than a gin. This is due to the sweetness of the drink. Sloe gin is made by macerating ripe sloe berries, a small fruit closely related to the plum, with sugar and gin.   

The result is a rich, fruity and slightly sweet liqueur with a deep ruby colour. It can be enjoyed on its own, mixed into cocktails or used as an ingredient in a variety of culinary applications.  

There are several brands of sloe gin, the most popular being 

  • Plymouth Sloe Gin 
  • Sipsmith Sloe Gin 
  • Hayman’s Sloe Gin 
  • Warner’s Sloe Gin 
  • Monkey 47 Sloe Gin 
  • Bathtub Sloe Gin 
Sloe Gin is a gin/liquor that is made by using sloe berries.

What is a Sloe? 

The main ingredient in Sloe Gin is blackthorn. What exactly is blackthorn? Blackthorn is a small fruit that grows on the blackthorn bush. It is also known as sloe berry or blackthorn berry. They are usually dark blue or purple in colour and have a thin, acidic skin. After the first frost, sloes become softer and their flavour milder, making them more suitable for culinary use.  

Although sloes are not widely consumed as fresh fruit, they play an important role in the production of sloe gin and are valued for their unique flavour and contribution to traditional recipes. 

Blackthorn is a small fruit that grows on the blackthorn bush. It is also known as sloe berry or blackthorn berry.

What are differences between Sloe gin and gin?  

We mentioned it briefly before. In fact, sloe gin is often thought of as a liqueur rather than a gin. So, what exactly are the differences between gin and sloe gin? The main difference lies in the ingredients and the production process. 

Sloe Gin VS Gin. Here are some of the differences:    

  • Sloe gin can be classified as a liqueur and gin is a spirit.  
  • Gin is originally clear and sloe gin has a red color.  
  • The main ingredient in sloe gin is the sloe berry, while gin is derived from the juniper berry.  
  • Gin typically has a dry, aromatic taste, while sloe gin has a sweeter, fruitier taste.  
  • Sloe gin can have a lower alcohol content than gin.  
  • Gin is often drunk neat, while sloe gin is often used as an ingredient in cocktails.  
  • Gin is made by traditional distillation, while sloe gin is made by mixing sugar and blackthorn berries and soaking them in gin. 

Would you like to find out more about other types of gin as well? Check out our blog on London Dry Gin: Discovering the dry delights of London.  

The production process of Sloe Gin 

Now you know what Sloe Gin is, but how is it made? Sloe gin is made by macerating sloe berries with gin and sugar. At around 25%, the alcohol content is lower than the mandatory 37.5%. Here is an overview of how sloe gin is made:  

  1. Sloe berries are usually harvested in late autumn, after the first frost. The frost helps to break down the hard skin of the berries, allowing the flavours and aromas to be better released during the maceration process.  
  1. After harvesting, sloe berries are often washed and then traditionally pierced with a needle or fork. This helps to open the skin of the berries, allowing the flavours and colours to penetrate better into the gin. Sometimes the berries are frozen.  
  1. The sloe berries are then placed in a tightly sealed container, often a bottle or jar, and covered with gin. The mixture is then left to macerate for several months, during which time the gin absorbs the fruity flavours, tannins and vibrant colours of the sloe berries. The amount of sugar added can vary depending on the desired level of sweetness.   
  1. After maceration, the liquid is filtered to remove the berries and any unwanted particles. Depending on the producer, some additional sugar may be added to balance the sweetness. The sloe gin is then bottled and ready to enjoy.  

It is important to note that the production process of sloe gin can vary slightly from producer to producer, and sometimes additional herbs or botanicals are added to create extra flavour. 

Are you interested to get to know more about the production of other types of gin? Read about Plymouth Gin: the gem of the gin world.

A few steps are needed to make Sloe Gin. Harvesting, washing, piercing, macerating and filtering.

History of Sloe Gin 

Fruity and complex, with a pleasant balance of bitter and sweet notes, this gin is hugely popular today. However, this was not immediately the case when this type of gin was discovered. The history of sloe gin goes back centuries and has its roots in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom.   

The drink was first invented in England in the 17th century. Faced with a surplus of otherwise unusable blackthorn berries, some industrious farmers decided to combine the fruit with gin, a popular drink at the time. Although this home-brewed gin was not initially of the highest quality, in the 19th century British distilleries began to develop their own high-quality versions.  

Since Sloe Gin was added to various cocktails, it has gained a better reputation. 

How to drink Sloe Gin 

There are many different types of gin, mostly used in cocktails. Want to know what they are? Read our blog about 8 different types of gin. So, you’ve got a bottle of Sloe Gin and don’t know what to mix it with? Traditionally, sloe gin is drunk neat or in hot drinks such as mulled wine, but it is even more fun in mixed drinks! With its fruity and slightly sweet flavour, it complements the flavours of other ingredients in cocktails. 

Below we describe 3 delicious cocktail recipes using Sloe Gin. 

Sloe Gin Fizz 

The most famous of all Sloe gin cocktails is the Sloe Gin Fizz, a twist on the gin breeze that has probably been around since the 1900s. 


  • 2 ounces sloe gin 
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup 
  • Club soda (to top) 
  • Ice cubes 
  • Lemon twist, for garnish (optional) 


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. 
  1. Add the sloe gin, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and simple syrup to the shaker. 
  1. Shake the ingredients vigorously for about 15 seconds to chill the mixture. 
  1. Strain the cocktail into a highball glass filled with ice cubes. 
  1. Top the glass with club soda, leaving some space at the top for the fizz to expand. 
  1. Give it a gentle stir to mix the ingredients. 
  1. Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired. 
Sloe gin fizz is a famous cocktail that you can easily make at home.

Sloe Gin and Champagne 

Here’s an effortlessly easy sloe gin cocktail to make: Sloe Gin & Champagne! All you need to do is mix the Sloe Gin with bubbles. The result? A lively sloe gin cocktail that is perfect for all kinds of bubbly parties. 

Sloe Gin Negroni 

Another top seller is the Sloe Gin Negroni, a delicious twist on the classic Negroni cocktail that substitutes sloe gin for the traditional gin. This variation adds a fruity and slightly sweet note to the bitter and spicy flavours of the original. 


  • 1 ounce sloe gin 
  • 1 ounce Campari 
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth 
  • Orange twist, for garnish 


  1. Fill a mixing glass or cocktail shaker with ice. 
  1. Add the sloe gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth to the mixing glass. 
  1. Stir the ingredients gently for about 15-20 seconds to chill the mixture. 
  1. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with ice cubes. 
  1. Garnish with an orange twist, expressing the oils over the drink for added aroma. 
Sloe Gin Negroni is a top seller cocktail. Fruity and sweet!

Buy Sloe Gin at our wholesale 

From Hayman’s Sloe to Bahtub, you can find all sorts of delicious sloe gins in our wholesale assortment. We sell to business customers worldwide. Transparency is important to us, which is why you can view our entire stock on our Sales Portal 24/7. You can instantly see all key product specifications, including photos and prices.   

We have over 80 brands of gin in stock at any one time. Are you more interested in London Dry Gin or Old Tom Gin? Then come to us too! Stock up your liquor store’s shelves quickly and easily by buying from our distribution portal. Register now and never miss out on alcohol again! 

Sign up to our Sales Portal and order Sloe Gin online now! 

Sloe Gin is a sweet liqueur which is made by macerating ripe sloe berries, a small fruit closely related to the plum, with sugar and gin.

Sloe Gin is considered a liqueur, not a gin. Besides that, some of the differences are the colour of the drink, the production process, the lower alcohol content in Sloe Gin, the dry taste of Gin compared to the fruity flavor of Sloe Gin. This is because of the main ingredient, sloe berry for Sloe Gin and juniper berry for normal gin. Sloe Gin is mainly an ingredient for cocktails, ‘normal’ gin is often drunk neat.

Sloe gin is made by macerating sloe berries with gin and sugar. The Sloe berries are harvested in late autumn, then they get washed and pierced with a needle. After that, maceration follows for several months. Finally, the drink is filtered to remove any unwanted particles.

The drink was first invented in England in the 17th century.

Sloe gin is often used in cocktails. This is due to its fruity character. Examples include the Sloe Gin Fizz, Sloe Gin Champagne and the Sloe Gin Negroni.