10 of the best sloe gins
This hedgerow liqueur is a classic winter tipple that's perfect for Christmas. Discover our favourite bottles, and follow our recipe tips for how to make it yourself
If you aren't able to forage for sloe berries, then check out our guide on what are sloe berries and where to buy them.
What is sloe gin?
What is in sloe gin?
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Sloe gin is made up of sloe berries, caster sugar and gin.
Recipe for sloe gin and tips
1) Only pick sloes when they're at their best – they're usually ready around late autumn to early winter. Ripe sloes will be plump and dark purple in colour.
2) Use the best gin you can find. Here are some of the best British gins for you to try.
Once you've assembled some quality base ingredients, start by sterilising a bottle (just run it through the dishwasher by itself), then half-fill it with sloes, add a little caster sugar and top up with gin. Lay it on its side in a cool, dark place for a couple months, giving it a shake every couple of days. For more information, see this detailed recipe for making sloe gin, and then check out our guide to autumn berries and foraging.
Looking for recipes to make that use sloe gin? Check out our plum and sloe gin crumble to make for the festive season.
Best sloe gin to buy
Haymans have been making gins since 1863, and this sloe gin uses hand-picked sloe berries, steeped in their London dry gin. 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.
This sloe gin has a slightly spiced flavour with notes of almond. With a smooth mouthfeel, it reminded us of mulled wine.
This distillery is known for its excellent rye whiskies, and it turns out they also make lovely liqueurs. This elegant sloe gin is made using locally picked wild sloes and damsons steeped for more than a year in the distillery's own rye organic dry gin (made using heritage grains grown nearby). The liqueur is then matured for another year in vintage port barrels. The end result is a dry sloe gin with mellow depth and deep hedgerow berry flavours. It's special stuff.
Technically, this can't be called a sloe gin as it's actually made using Australian Davidson plums at the Cape Byron Distillery, but this Antipodean number still fits the sloe gin profile rather nicely – masses of tart, tangy flavour, raspberry and herbaceous notes, and well-balanced sweetness.
A mixture of organic gin, sloe berries, sugar and blackcurrant liqueur, this had a mellow sloe flavour with citrussy notes.
Hedgerow sloes steeped in London dry gin makes for an accessible, easy-going sloe liqueur. You can still pick up piney juniper from the gin, as well as lively red fruit notes. Try adding a dash to sparkling wine.
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.
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.
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.
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 lingering spice, too. Try with a cheeseboard.
Best sloe gin recipes
Make the most of the sloe season with this classic and easy-to-make liqueur. Enjoy this fruity alcoholic drink over the festive season or give it away as a gift.
Use your own homemade sloe gin in this festive spin on a classic gin fizz.
Check out our impressive homemade sloe gin cheese. Fruit cheeses are set fruit pastes that are ideal partners for cheeseboards. Try this with a strong blue cheese such as stilton.
Our sloe gin and plum crumble is a twist on a classic and much-loved British dessert. Pair with a scoop of good-quality vanilla ice cream to really take advantage of the cinnamon and mixed spice notes.
Team sloe gin with plums and make an autumnal layer cake with wow factor. It's sure to impress your friends, and best of all it's an easy recipe too.