Sloe gin is kind of like gin, only dark red in color and flavored with blackthorn (or “sloe”) berries. It has an old-timey Prohibition-era association because it enjoyed popularity back then. Nowadays, sloe gin’s reputation has been somewhat tarnished by the crappy artificially flavored versions used in Alabama Slammers and the like. Good sloe gin isn’t widely distributed outside of the UK, where the spirit was originally made, but with the resurgence of traditional cocktail-mixing, the good stuff is getting easier to find. Plymouth, which makes some of the best gin out there, makes a good sloe gin. This cocktail is a cousin to the Prohibition-era Ramos Gin Fizz, which makes famous use of egg whites and a wrist-cracking amount of shaking to achieve the luxurious head of foam. Hair-on-your-chest factor: 71/100
Let’s get one thing straight: Fizzes were originally meant to be daytime drinks, and we’re inclined to uphold that tradition. This is a pretty lightweight drink potencywise, and it is bright red in color, so don’t think that just because the word “gin” is in its name you’re sipping on something like a martini. As long as you’re drinking the sloe gin fizz with brunch, it’s a manly libation, to be sure. But once the sun goes down, we recommend you stick with liquor that’s either clear or brown.
2 oz sloe gin (we recommend Plymouth’s)
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp superfine sugar
Shake the sloe gin, lemon juice and sugar vigorously with ice. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass, and top with club soda or seltzer.