Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Plymouth Sloe Gin

As regular readers may remember, when I heard that Plymouth Sloe Gin was making its way to our shores I was, well, a bit excited. Its arrival turned out to be a bit of a clusterfuck, as arrival dates for the precious liquid came and went with no Plymouth and no idea from the (very patient) folks at the store I continued to bombard with my presence. When it finally arrived I was almost vibrating with excitement. Sitting on my desk at work, it mocked me with its not being open. Never before was I so tempted to drink on the job.

Once home with my precious cargo, a dark thought came over me. My expectations had blown themselves a bit out of proportion, and I was fearing a huge letdown. In my fevered brain this product, only spoken about in whispers, was some sort of curative nostrum of the soul. To sip this drink would be to see the face of creation. I poured myself a wee bit of the stuff, and (trying to lower my expectation) took a sip. I didn't have any holy hallucinations, but I'll be damned if it wasn't fucking delicious.

Knowing that sloe berries are so tart as to be virtually inedible, I was expecting either a much more astringent product, or something that was perhaps overly sweetened to mask the puckering punch. Rather than either of those, there was a wonderful balance between the sweet and the sour. The first thing that hit me, was an intense, jammy flavor that's somewhat difficult to describe. It was kind of like a mash up of fruits, none of which could easily be pinned down (though the most distinct flavor I got was blackberry). In the finish I got a slight, and somewhat surprising, hint of strawberry.

With that out of the way, it was time for a cocktail! I began to consult my various books, and websites -- I knew I could give the classic Sloe Gin Fizz a whirl, but I was interested in giving something else a shot if it caught my eye. What eventually caught it, was the Daisy recipe from David Wondrich's fantastic new book Imbibe. Here's the specifics of what I used.

Sloe Gin Daisy

2 oz. Plymouth Sloe Gin
.5 oz. lemon juice
1.5 tsp. Creole Shrub
1 tsp. simple syrup

Shaken, and strained into a cocktail glass, and topped with soda.

With the inherent tartness of the Plymouth, and the half ounce of lemon juice with nothing but a couple of teaspoons of sweetener to balance it out, I was sure it was going to be one tart beverage. Oh how wrong I was -- This little baby is a thing of beauty. It's just sweet enough to keep it from being too tart for human consumption, and makes for a cocktail that falls perfectly in my dryness range. In his book, Wondrich briefly debates the type of glass to use, and advises the cocktail as it prevents adding in too much soda. It's a suggestion that's right on the money, as there was just enough effervescence to open up the drink, but it was pretty easy to tell that it wouldn't have taken much more to drown out the complexity of the other ingredients.

Comments always welcome or feel free to e-mail us at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com.


Tom McMillian said...

I finally was able to obtain some Plymouth Sloe Gin. I looking forward to trying out your drink this week-end.

Thank you for your blog, I really appreciate it.


drinkaweek said...

Thanks for the nice words, we appreciate it! Pop back by and let us know what you think of the drink.