Sloe Gin Two Ways

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I just got a bottle of Plymouth’s sloe gin and find it quite satisfying. I did describe it on egullet as so:

“I just picked up a bottle of Plymouth sloe gin ($40) at Charles Street Liquors on Beacon Hill. Its pretty cool. The nose has a charming cough syrup kind of character. Its is elegantly sweet but finishes almost dry like there is much more acidity than a liqueur like Cointreau. The botanicals seem to add only subtle nuance and there is no piny juniper leaping out at you.”

My first attempt of playing with the stuff was as follows:

1.5 oz. st. james ambre (my favorite martinique rum)
.5 oz. plymouth sloe gin
.5 oz. yellow chartreuse
1 oz. lemon juice
dash of angostura

This was fantastic and integrated, and even the small amount of sloe gin gave this sour style drink unique identity. I could drink many of these without getting bored from the repetition. But I remembered it so vividly that I didn’t feel the need to drink it again. Instead I re-animated it with my beloved Seagram’s Distiller’s reserve gin.

1.5 oz. seagrams distiller’s reserve
.5 oz. plymouth sloe gin
.5 oz. yellow chartreuse
1 oz. lemon juice
dash angostura

The next day (today) this variation relative to the first was beautiful. The accompaniments are the same but with the change in base, the first thing that came to mind was the aroma of chamomile with a salinity on the palate that didn’t really exist, but might have been brought on by the drier perception of the spirit. This reminded me of a manzanilla sherry lurking under the fruit of the sloes (but certainly not something heavy relative to the manzanilla style like “la cigarrera”). This drink’s synthesis of flavors lurking in my own mind’s personal flavor reference library was really fun but probably lost on less kinky drinkers, oh well.

***update!***

So some friends came to visit for the afternoon and I took the opportunity to make another cocktail. This theme was fresh in my head with plenty of flavor references ingrained in my subconscious self so I opted to use my distilled version of Hitachino’s white ale from Japan. This is basically a gin like system derived from a highly regarded beer that I’ve drank on many occasions. The botanical system differs from gin by using hops instead of juniper accompanied by orange peel and coriander. The results of Hitachino’s efforts are amazing and completely validates the nearly $2/oz. price. My strategy for working with something Charlie Trotter decadent like this is to use a drink that I’m really familiar with and enjoy so I get a better chance at understanding the new spirits contribution. In this drink the hops create the most beautiful floral quality. In beer you usually encounter it with little fruit flavor contrast but in a cocktail anything is fair game. Here there is the contrast of diluted sloes and Chartreuse. Nothing is redundant and everything gets a chance to speak. wow!

1.5 oz. hitachino’s “kiuchi no shizuku” distilled white ale
.5 oz. plymouth sloe gin
.5 oz. yellow chartreuse
1 oz. lemon juice
dash angostura

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