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How to make sloe gin and our best sloe gin taste test

Our mission: to find the best sloe gin available in the UK. Here are the results of our expert taste test, just in time for the Christmas period and our recipe for how to make sloe gin

Looking for the best sloe gin to serve to guests this Christmas? Read on to find the best sloe gin to buy and how to make your own sloe gin

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What is sloe gin?

What is in sloe gin?

Sloe gin is made up of sloe berries, caster sugar and gin.

Recipe for sloe gin and tips

1) Use the best sloes you can get your hands on

2) Don’t use cheap gin. Here are our favourite British gins for you to try.

You only get out what you put in, so make sure it’s worth making sloe gin. Once you’ve got those two things sorted, you need to start by sterilising your bottle (just run it through the dishwasher by itself), then half-fill it with sloes, add 2 tbsp caster sugar and top up with gin. Lay it on its side in a dark place for 2 months, giving it a shake every couple of days.

Looking for recipes to make that use sloe gin? Click here for our plum and sloe gin crumble to make for the festive season


Best sloe gin to buy

How the best sloe gin taste test worked

Four members of the olive team conducted a blind taste test to find the most flavoursome shop-bought sloe gin. We tasted nine sloe gins from various brands. The group choose a 1st place winner, a runner up and then other alternatives that we tried.

All products have been chosen and reviewed independently by our editorial experts. This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases made, but this comes at no extra cost to you and helps us to continue providing top-quality content for our loyal readers.


The results for the best sloe gin taste test

Winner: >Haymans sloe gin, £29.81/700ml, Amazon

About the sloe gin: Haymans have been making gins since 1863, and this sloe gin uses hand-picked sloe berries, steeped in their London dry gin. This gin has a volume of 26%.

Comments: This winning sloe gin had a nice balance of sweet sloe berries and a gentle hit of alcohol. It had a rich, fruity flavour without being too sweet and tasted like the most classic sloe gin.

Haymans Sloe Gin Bottle

Runner up: Sipsmith sloe gin, £22/500ml, Waitrose

About the sloe gin: Sipsmith sloe gin is made from their London dry gin which is then combined with wild sloe berries picked in 2016. This gin has a volume of 29%.

Comments: We thought this sloe gin had a slightly spiced flavour with notes of almond. It had a smooth mouthfeel and reminded us a bit of mulled wine.

Sipsmith sloe gin bottle

The best alternative sloe gin: Gibsons sloe gin, £20.95/350ml, Gibsons Organic

About the sloe gin: Gibson’s sloe gin is also flavoured with blackcurrant. It is a mixture of organic sloe berries grown in the Cotswolds and gin, and sweetened with sugar. This gin has a volume of 22%.

Comments: This sloe gin is slightly different from the others as it is a mixture of juniper green gin, sloe berries, sugar and blackcurrant liqueur. We thought it had a mellow sloe flavour with citrusy notes.

Gibsons sloe gin bottle


Since our taste test, we’ve found two more great sloe gins to try

Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Sloe Gin, £39.45, 31 Dover

Monkey 47 has macerated Black Forest sloe berries into its acclaimed gin, and the result is gorgeous – a super-fragrant, complex nose, with earthy juniper, heady spice and rich dark fruit notes. One for those who prefer less syrupy sloe gins.

Monkey 47 Sloe Gin bottle

Pickering’s Sloe Gin, £21.45, Amazon

One for fans of sweeter sloe gins, this festive number has subtle spice, rich red fruit and distinctive cherry bakewell notes – sip this alongside a slice of stollen.

Pickering's Sloe Gin bottle

Other sloe gins we tried

Warner Edwards sloe gin, £26.95/700ml, Amazon

About the sloe gin: This sloe gin is made by steeping Harrington Dry gin in sloe berries. It has a volume of 30%.

Comments: If you’re looking for a classic sloe gin, this is a great value one to buy. It has a dry texture and rich flavours of cherry and spice. We also detected notes of coffee.

Warner Edwards sloe gin

Sacred sloe gin, £35.95/200ml, Amazon

About the sloe gin: Made with organic sloes and rested in Sacred gin for two and a half years, this gin has a volume of 28.8%.

Comments: Like a cross between PX sherry and tawny port, this sloe gin is perfect for those with a sweet tooth. There are notes of liquorice and a lingering spice, too. While it does have musty notes on the nose, this doesn’t translate to the flavour and we think it would pair well with a cheeseboard.

A bottle of deep purple sloe gin with a label on the front which reads 'Sacred'

Lyme Bay winery sloe gin liqueur, £12.99/350ml, Lyme Bay Winery

About the sloe gin: This sloe gin made in Devon’s Axe Valley has a volume of 17%. It won silver in 2012 from the taste of the west awards.

Comments: This sloe gin is great if you have a sweet tooth. The flavour wasn’t too overpowering and it had notes of blackcurrant.

Lyme Bay winery sloe gin bottle with a glass of the gin being poured

Gordons sloe gin, £21.64/700ml, Master of Malt

About the sloe gin: Gordon’s sloe gin is a combination of Gordon’s original gin and handpicked sloe berries. This gin has a volume of 26%.

Comments: Gordon’s sloe gin had herbal notes and a slightly tart flavour. We thought it tasted like a good standard sloe gin.

Gordon's sloe gin bottle

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Looking for sloe gin recipes or alternative boozy bakes? Click here to see our sloe gin layer cake recipe and best ever boozy bakes…

Sloe gin layer cake