20 best Sloe Gin cocktails

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Sloe gins (actually, liqueurs and not "gins") are a traditional cocktail ingredient and one that Harry Johnson includes in his short list of "The Principle Stock Of A Café" in his 1900 Bartenders Manual.

Made by infusing sloe berries in gin with sugar, sloe gin liqueurs are often used in cocktails alongside gin but have long been mixed with other spirits, such as with Scotch whisky in The Modern, recorded in the 1905 The Hoffman House Bartender's Guide.

In more modern times, sloe gin took a starring role in the Slow Screw cocktail franchise, so it seemed fitting to include a couple in this selection.

Sloe gin has also long been a household staple over Christmas, so is a natural fit in a Christmas Negroni. The other cocktails below may lack a festive name, but they are worth remembering when entertaining family and friends over the holiday season.

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Blackthorn No. 1
With: Sloe gin, rosso vermouth, dry vermouth, aromatic bitters and orange bitters.
We say: Dashes of bitters and lemon oils from the garnish are key to this sloe gin-based classic from the turn of the 20th century.

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Blackthorn No. 5
With: Sloe gin, dry gin, dry vermouth, lemon juice, sugar cane syrup, and aromatic bitters.
We say: Sloeberry fruit and gin form the backbone of this aperitivo/digestivo, which is freshened by a splash of lemon juice and opened by being shaken.

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Blackthorn (English)
With: Dry gin, sloe gin, rosso vermouth, dry vermouth, orange bitters and aromatic bitters.
We say: A sloe berry-influenced fruity Perfect Martini.

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Christmas Negroni
With: Dry gin, full-bodied vermouth, Becherovka, Italian red bitter liqueur, sloe gin and falernum.
We say: A classic Negroni turned festive with added Christmassy flavours.

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Green Deacon
With: Absinthe, dry gin, sloe gin, and grapefruit juice.
C/ The absinthe-rinse is a subtle addition to the Rose Deacon, but it propels this classic into a much more interesting place.
We say: A shade of orange-red rather than green; the name refers to an ingredient: absinthe.

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With: Dry gin, sloe gin, rosso vermouth, dry vermouth and Creole bitters.
We say: Some may want to stir this gin-laced aperitivo, but it's better enlivened by shaking.

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Mulled Negroni
With: Dry gin, Italian red bitter, rosso vermouth, red wine, falernum, and sloe gin.
We say: Red wine, clove-forward falernum and sloe gin add "Mulled" notes to this Negroni.

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With: Sloe gin, fino sherry, and gentian liqueur.
We say: A Negroni riff which sets the richness of sloe gin against bone dry fino with bitter gentian.

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Ocean Shore
With: Gin, sloe gin, lemon juice, orgeat, vanilla bitters (optional), and egg white.
We say: A 1934 sloe gin sour with a touch of almond.

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With: Applejack, rouge vermouth, sloe gin, lemon juice, and sugar syrup.
We say: Apple brandy and sloe gin sit brilliantly with rosso vermouth in this sour.

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Red Rum 'Martini
With: Fresh redcurrants, aged rum, sloe gin, lemon juice, and vanilla syrup.
We say: A beautifully fruity, adult balance of bittersweet flavours.

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Saison l'Hiver
With: Clove, honey syrup, sloe gin, lemon juice, and rosé sparkling wine.
We say: Rich wintery flavours of sloe gin and honey are balanced by lemon with clove seasonal spice and rosé fizz, refreshing all.

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San Francisco (Café Royal)
With: Sloe gin, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, orange bitters, and aromatic bitters.
We say: Fruity, aromatic and complex. This is one of my favourite sloe gin cocktails.

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Sloe Gin Fizz
With: Sloe gin, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and brut sparkling wine.
We say: Just on the dry/tart side of balanced.

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With: Dry gin, Italian red bitter liqueur, sloe gin, and rose vermouth.
We say: A riff on the classic Negroni, which emerged circa 2018.

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Slow Screw
With: Sloe gin, dry gin, and orange juice.
We say: Reminiscent of a fruity screwdriver with a botanical gin character.

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Slow Comfortable Mexican Screw Against The Wall
With: Blanco tequila, vodka, southern whiskey liqueur, orange juice, sloe gin, and Galliano liqueur.
We say: Tequila adds a Mexican touch to the Slow Screw family.

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Slow Comfortable Screw Against The Wall
With: Vodka, southern whiskey liqueur, orange juice, sloe gin, and Galliano.
We say: Galliano adds the wall (Harvey Wallbanger) to this Slow Comfortable Screw.

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Time Release
With: Dry gin, white port, sloe gin, and Yellow Chartreuse.
We say: Gin and white port lead with sloe gin and Chartreuse adding their distinctive characteristics.

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With: Dry gin, sloe gin, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, crème de mûre, and sugar syrup.
We say: Named after the 1970s' Weebles children's roly-poly toys, "Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down."

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