Sloe like you've never seen it before - David T Smith investigates Double-Sloe Gin from Whittaker's Gin...

As we find ourselves in the depth of winter, with early morning frosts and the occasional flurry of snow, drinkers’ thoughts rightly turn to the hot toddy and other cosy spirits that are like a snuggly hug in a glass. For gin lovers, this is often in the form of sloe gin.

The world and its dog seems to make sloe gin, with each person having their own secret recipe and ritual. I have it on very good authority that even Prince Philip makes, or at least he used to make, sloe gin for the Royal Household.

So for the first That Boutique-y Gin Company product involving sloe berries, we’ve approached the subject from a slightly different angle. This project is in partnership with Toby & Jane Whittaker of Harrogate Distillery, makers of Whittaker's Gin. The husband and wife team founded Whittaker’s Gin in 2015 and their range of gins already includes:

- Whittaker’s Gin Original;
- Whittaker’s Gin Clearly Sloe;
- Whittaker’s Gin Navy Strength; and
- Whittaker’s Gin Pink Particular.

The Gin

That Boutique-y Gin Company Double-Sloe Gin uses Whittaker’s Clearly Sloe as a base (this is their redistilled - and therefore clear - sloe gin), to which are added extra sloes, as well as a gentle sweetness. The result is a gin that is both complex and has a deep sloe character, with a wide range of aromas and flavours coming from each stage of the production process.

The Label
A slightly spooky scene: front and centre is a black rabbit with glowing sloe berries for eyes; whilst it may initially appear to be sinister, it’s far more mysterious than menacing. The spooky label is a nod to the fact that the Clearly Sloe (is like a “ghostly” (transparent) version of a traditional sloe gin. In the background, a supermoon illuminates two local landmarks: Ripon Cathedral and the famous Betty’s Tea Room in Harrogate.

The Taste
Nose: Soft, but with plenty going on: fleks of cherry blossom, almond and vanilla blossom before the nose settles into plump, but dry notes of sloe and pine.
Taste: Slightly nutty and oily to start with deep, rich and crisp pine notes - fresh and invigorating. Notes of sloe berry follow: tart, but with a ribbon of sweet vanilla and cherry running through it.
Finish: Cherry stones and vanilla with a lingering zip of tart berries and pine needles.

This is certainly a “ginnier” sloe-flavoured gin that is both dryer and more mixable. If the old liqueur sloe gin was the king of winter gin drinking then, thanks to Double Sloe, the king has lost his crown.

The Drinks

With Ginger Ale
50ml Double-Sloe Gin
150ml ginger ale

There is a real beauty in the simplicity of this drink. The light ginger notes work incredibly well alongside the jamminess and slight tartness of the gin. A delight to drink.

Double-Sloe Pro
20ml Double-Sloe Gin
100ml rose prosecco
Add gin to a flute glass and top-up with prosecco.

Another very simple drink to make, but one that brings out the plump fruitiness in both the spirit and the wine marvellously. A great way to start a festive party.

Sloe Gin Fizz
50ml Double-Sloe Gin
25ml lemon juice
10ml simple sugar syrup
Add ingredients to a well-iced tumbler glass and gently stir before topping up with sparkling/soda water.

This drink is dryer than your typical Sloe Gin Fizz, and a good choice for an aperitif to help raise the appetite. A crisp drink with a complex character.