Best sloe gin
We’ve reviewed sloe gin to bring you our best buys, from traditional bottles to modern riffs on this classic flavoured spirit. Discover the results of our taste test.
Sloe gin, that most traditional of British liqueurs, is going from strength to strength at the moment. There are producers big and small putting out excellent bottles, including some intriguing variations on the drink we think we know. Now is a great time to reacquaint yourself with the fruit of the blackthorn.
Sloe gin can vary from bold, spiced, autumnal bottles to lighter, sweeter varieties. Once you've chosen your bottle, check out our selection of easy sloe gin cocktail recipes to make the most of this unique flavour. Try an elegant sloe royale or botanical cocktail with juniper syrup. Not just for cocktails, you can also add a dash of sloe gin to savoury dishes - serve sloe gin cranberry sauce at Christmas or a classic venison with sloe gin sauce. For a comfort food pud, our sloe gin and fruit sponge puddings recipe is ideal served with plenty of custard.
Our drinks expert Richard Davie is a writer, barman and brewer with roots in home-brewing. With Miriam Nice, he co-wrote The Art of Drinking Sober. When he's not making his own beer and cocktails, he works at award-winning micro pub The Beer Shop. He's selected the best sloe gins to try, on a range of prices from £17-£40, so that you can find the perfect bottle to suit you, whether you're after a warm spicy variety, sweet liqueur or rich and fruity option.
Best sloe gin at a glance
- Best organic sloe gin: Hernö sloe gin, £39.50
- Best aged sloe gin: Sacred organic sloe gin, £34.45
- Best eco-friendly sloe gin: Beckett’s sloe gin, £30.85
- Best for drinking on its own: Sipsmith sloe gin, £20
- Best sloe gin liqueur: Foxdenton sloe gin liqueur, £17
- Best spiced sloe gin: Pickering’s sloe gin, £29.47
- Best fruity sloe gin: Adnam’s sloe gin, £31.19
- Best classic sloe gin: Warner Edwards sloe gin, £28.25
Best sloe gin to buy 2023
Hernö Sloe Gin
Best organic sloe gin
Made four-and-a-half hours north of Stockholm on the Swedish coast, Hernö pride themselves on using all organic ingredients and include some locally sourced botanicals such as meadowsweet and lingonberry in their London dry gin. No surprise that with such a base this sloe gin is perfumed on the nose, with delicate floral hints alongside the juniper before the sloe, plum and almond notes come in. Starting sweetly and finishing drier, this delightful number really wants a good nosing.
Sacred Organic Sloe Gin
Best aged sloe gin
Set up in their north London home by Ian Hart and his partner Hilary Whitney in 2009, Sacred are an intimate outfit. Utilising vacuum distillation in small volumes, Hart is able to extract the essence of the botanicals without heating them, a process he believes retains more flavour. Resting the resultant gin and ageing sloes in it for, a frankly ludicrous, 30 months before adding an extra boost of juniper pre-bottling results in an extraordinarily intense, spicy, sloe gin. The juniper makes itself known first with a pine-y edge, before the sloes whack in rich and jammy. A long finish sees you out with marzipan and notes of orange zest.
Beckett's Sloe Gin
Best eco-friendly sloe gin
Hailing from the south-western tip of London, in Kingston upon Thames, Beckett's source their juniper from nearby Box Hill, where they support the National Trust and Forestry Commission’s repopulation project, trying to return the native conifer to the Surrey Hills. The other differentiator for the base dry gin used is fresh local mint. As for their sloe gin, marzipan leads into cherry and plum on the nose, while the juniper and botanicals keep everything in check. A clean note at the end brings the mint to mind without it overwhelming the warming fruit and almond.
Sipsmith Sloe Gin
Best for drinking on its own
Sipsmith is godfather to the gin revival of the last decade, and the west London distillery’s sloe gin has a light, expansive nose that’s all almond up front. Soft stewed plum and cherry follow on, with just a hint of juniper and botanicals. A sip starts light and relatively dryly, with fruit matching the nose and balanced almond essence, with spicy notes as it comes towards a sweet finish and a suggestion of blackcurrant. A restrained and sippable example.
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Foxdentons Sloe Gin
- Available from Foxdenton (£17)
Best sloe gin liqueur
Foxdenton claim a business heritage back to 1935, and are currently run by the descendants of the founding Major Radclyffe. With a definite affinity to the hunting-and-fishing end of sloe gin’s reputation, this is a rich fireside warmer or hipflask pull when out in the cold. Boozy, but not hot, on the nose, it wafts Battenberg at you, with lots of plum and glacé cherry fruit after the initial almond heft. Drunk, it leads with intense plum and plum skins, the fruit competing with marzipan. A rich, full mouth, especially given it is not one of the sweeter examples. Spicy pepper and coriander notes come in as well, as it finishes long.
Pickering’s Sloe Gin
Best spiced sloe gin
One of a few Edinburgh gin makers to pop up in the last five-10 years, Pickering’s sloe gin is a spicy entrant to this list. The nose is almond-led, but with an almost lebkuchen aroma mingling with the fruit. This continues when you take a sip, the almond, sloe and cherry butting up against a warm embrace redolent of clove and cardamom, even ginger. The cooling edge of juniper stops this running into sickly or Christmas-only territory.
Adnams Sloe Gin
Best fruity sloe gin
The venerable Suffolk brewery has opened up a distillery as part of its recent modernisation. Based on their Copper House dry gin, this is one of the less liqueur-like gins here. The nose has enough space to allow the juniper and citrus aromatics to interlace with notes of fresh almonds and plum. Flavours of baked plum, a touch of raspberry and a smidge of cinnamon again find themselves with the classic dry gin juniper. Interestingly, while it makes for a sweet G&T, mixing it opens up even more summer fruit on the palate, should you fancy a long drink.
Warner Edwards Sloe Gin
Best classic sloe gin
Based on the family farm in Northamptonshire, Warner Edwards’ offering is fairly traditional, but big in every way. A slightly higher ABV of 30% gives a platform to rich marzipan and baked plum, with a juniper undercurrent. It continues intensely as you sip, with cherry and pepper also joining in. A full, rich mouthful, the sweetness is balanced by fruit skin tannins and a spicy finish.
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This review was last updated in October 2022. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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