A still named Jezebel is where Double Sloe gin begins its life. The Whittaker family, owners of Harrogate distillery make an intriguing product called Clearly Sloe, which is their flagship dry gin botanical blend along with sloe fruits macerated for 24 hours. Before being distilled to product a gin with Sloe as a botanical.
Double Sloe Gin takes it one step forward and macerates sloes in the gin to create a traditional sloe gin.
Unlike many others in the Sloe Gin category, Double Sloe Gin is a bonafide spirit in its own right bottled at 44% ABV.
The nose has lots of almond, along with plum, prunes, red cherries, and a hint of spice. It’s almost like Double Sloe Gin has a fruit punch vibe going on with it. Very lively, very fruit-forward.
Now if you’re expecting something syrupy and viscous like a traditional sloe gin, you’re going to be surprised. It’s nowhere near that. In fact, it’s almost the oppose. The base spirit is somewhat thin and doesn’t seem to hang around too long.
In terms of flavor though. there’s rich hints of spruce, resinous pine bark and birch. It’s incredibly earthy, with even some notes of forest floor. There’s a hint of bright stone fruit in the background along with some tart cranberry-like sourness.
The finish is warm with a hint of resiny pine sap.
What’s in a name these days anyway? If you thought Double Sloe Gin was a normal Sloe Gin, you’re going to be surprised. My advice is treat it like you would a normal gin. If you swap it into a classic Sloe Gin recipe like the Sloe Gin Fizz or Blackthorne— expect to add a ¼ to ½ oz. simple syrup depending on the cocktail you’re making. Double Sloe Gin has precious little sweetness to it.
That being said, on its own it has potential as a peculiar Martini gin, though absolutely serve it with a lemon twist (not olives, and I don’t know I would dare consider the plum Gibson here). And it works surprisingly well with tonic to make a bright, fizzy plum G&T.
I’d say the closest analogue in terms of gins I’ve had— Double Sloe gin is like Back River’s Cranberry Gin or like the Rhubarb Triangle Gin from That Boutique-y. It’s tart. It’s acidic. And although it bills itself as a sloe gin, it’s not a sloe gin. But a dry gin flavored with sloes.
There’s some things to like about this gin. One the higher ABV for a Sloe-flavored gin gives bartenders more to play with in terms of cocktail crafting. For my opinion though, Double Sloe Gin rather than celebrating the Sloe instead highlights some of the fruit’s least attractive factors.
To quote the BBC, “Sloes are too bitter and sour to eat raw… They have an intense plum taste.” Any gin using sloes as part of a maceration process desperately needs some sweetening to cut the sourness. It’s not to say that this gin doesn’t have its place, and it may well win people over behind the bar in the hands of bartenders. But Double Sloe Gin is not a Sloe Gin in terms of what I think people expect when they pick one up.