Quick Quick Sloe

By Mark Williams


Rather than traditional syrupy, liqueur type sloe gins, this serve uses unsweetened sloe gin and tweaks it in the glass and the mouth. The fruity tartness and almond overtones of the sloes is balanced and augmented by the marzipan flavours of rowan leaf buds in the glass, and sweet fruit leathers in the mouth. The olive-like qualities of umeboshi sloes adds yet another dimension.

  • 50ml Unsweetened sloe gin (infuse defrosted frozen sloe berries in cheap gin – don’t waste The Botanist on this – for at least 3 months, or rapid infuse with 3 charges in an iSi cream whipper – read more on this in my post on Sloe Reactions)
  • 10ml Rowan shoot syrup – made by infusing unopened rowan leaf shoots in strong sugar syrup
  • Meadowsweet tincture for misting
  • 1 Boozy sloe (saved from the infusion)


Sloe and crab apple leathers – made by cooking crab apples, sloes and other hedgerow fruits to a pulp, passing, sweetening with honey, spreading thinly on silicon sheets and dehydrating.

Umeboshi sloes – ferment ripe sloes with 2% by weight of salt for 1 month. Mix the sloe gin and rowan shoot syrup at room temperature and pour into an unchilled goblet. Add the boozy sloe and mist with meadowsweet tincture. Serve with fruit leather spirals and umeboshi sloes. If serving in the spring, a sprinkle of sloe blossoms looks good too. Allow the leather to start to dissolve in the mouth before sipping the drink.

Sloes are a common hedgerow fruit in the UK, with a long tradition of use augmenting gin. Rowan leaf shoots are the finest of many sources of almond flavour in the wild, particularly special as they are sweet rather than bitter. Check out my “Sloe Reactions” article on this site for more thoughts on sloes.

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