What Is Sloe Gin? (And How You Can Make It At Home!)

Although Sloe Gin is an old drink, it is gaining popularity, and many new age distilleries are now producing this liqueur to the new wave of gin enthusiasts. ‘

We refer to Sloe Gin as liquor because of the sweetness it contains. Sloe berries are incredibly sour when consumed straight from the plant. However, with a little sugar (and a lot of gin!) you can make a tasty drink.

You can also make slow gin at home with only 3 ingredients using a cheap bottle of commercial gin – so give it a try and see how easy it is!

If this is your first time making sloe gin, consider yourself fortunate. Today, we’ll walk you through the entire process of making and storing the drink. We’ll explain the differences between sloe gin and regular gin. You will be given some pointers on serving and preparing the drink. But, before we get there, let’s go over the sloe gin ingredients and understand the drink.

What Is Sloe Gin?

Sloe gin is a drink made in the 17th century in England. To make sloe gin, we normally use a dry gin like London dry style and add the sloe berries to make sloe gin. In the 19th century, people considered the drink a low-class drink. Today, you can easily make the drink or visit a distillery to enjoy a glass of sloe gin.

What Berry Is Sloe Gin Made from?

Sloe gin is a drink made from ripe purple sloe drupes. The sloe berries come from the same botanical family as the plums. The berries are bitter, and you cannot consume them directly. However, the genius of the 17th realized that you could add sugar and berries to the gin to make a sweet, nutty, and tart drink.

Key Facts: Sloe berries are actually a type of plum, but can’t be eaten straight. They are similar in appearance to a berry so hence they are called ‘sloe berries’!

Does Sloe Gin Contain Sugar?

Yes, Sloe Gin contains sugar to enhance the drink’s sweetness. You can add the sugar at the beginning of the sloe gin-making process. You can also add it at the end while storing the drink. However, that step is not necessary if you don’t like sugar. Sloe berries develop their sweetness when soaked in gin over time.

How Many Calories Are There in A Shot of Sloe Gin?

There is around 231 kcal for a 100ml of sloe gin.

Most often, people drink sloe gin neat which will be around 40ml or 92kcals

But of course, this isn’t the full story. If you make your sloe gin into a cocktail or with a mixer, then a large proportion of the calories will come from the mixers instead.

How Is Sloe Gin Made?

We still use the traditional method of making sloe gin. Typically, many people soak the sloe berries in a jar containing gin. The jar is then sealed and placed in a cool, dark place for three months or more. After some time, the drink becomes ruby red or deep red.

What’s The Difference Between Sloe Gin and Gin?

Many companies make gins in various ways. These companies add various flavors to sweeten and make the gin more appealing. As a result, many people confuse the gin with other flavored gins. So, here are some of the differences between gin and sloe gin.

  • We make sloe gin by mixing sugar and sloe berries and soaking them in gin, while breweries follow the traditional gin method.
  • Sloe gin is sweeter than the original gin and flavored gin.
  • Because of its sweetness, sloe gin is classified as a liqueur, whereas gin is classified as a spirit.
  • The original gin is transparent, but Sloe Gin is red.
  • Gin is made from juniper berries, while sloe gin is derived from sloe berries.
  • Gin has a higher alcohol content than sloe gin.

Can You Drink Sloe Gin Straight?

You can snip the sloe gin neat because of the sweetness of the drink. Many people prefer to drink it as they pour the drink. The sloe liqueur properties have also made it possible to serve the drink in different ways, including

What About A Cocktail?

You can make the Sloe Gin Fizz cocktail, which contains syrup, soda, lemon, or lime. You can also make other cocktails like Hot Daddy and Charlie Chaplin. People have recently mixed it with Scotch whisky to make a modern cocktail.

Other ways that you can drink Sloe Gin, or the cocktail Sloe Gin, include:

  • Iced: Sloe Gin tastes better when it’s chilled, especially in the summer.
  • Neat or Warm: You can serve the sloe gin in a medium or small glass.
  • Garnished: you can add cinnamon, fresh herbs, and blackberries.

Does Sloe Gin Go Bad?

Sloe gin has an indefinite shelf life. That means it doesn’t go bad. Sloe Gin tastes better when left to stay longer in an airtight container. That is why people make it a year before drinking it the following year. However, sloe gin tastes the worst when stored open.

How to Make Sloe Gin at Home (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Slow gin is technically a ‘compound gin’ or an infusion which means you don’t need to distill the final product. This means it’s easy (and legal) to make at home.

All you need to do is combine the ingredients and leave for a few months to let the magic happen.

We’ve shared one of our favorite DIY sloe gin recipes below.

The Ingredients You’ll Need

  • London Dry Style Gin (1 litre)
  • Sloe Berries 400g
  • 200-300 grams of sugar (add sugar to taste).


It is not that difficult to prepare sloe gin. However, the important thing is to focus on hygiene. You will need to wash every item before you start, including the utensils you will use.

Step 1: Place the berries in a bowl and rinse them with water. You can then pat them dry with a towel.

Step 2: In this step, you have two choices to make. To begin, place the sloe in a bag and freeze them. The skin of the sloe will burst when it freezes. After that, you can defrost them.

The second option is to prick each sloe with a cocktail stick or stainless steel needle. We aim to create an opening on the sloe to speed up the infusion process.

Step 3: Combine all of the sloes in a 2-litre jar or separate them into smaller jars. You can then add the sugar and gin and seal the jar. Start by using only about 100 grams of sugar as you can always add more at the end of the process to taste. Shake the components well.

Step 4: Store the jar in a cool and dark environment. You will need to leave it for 2-3 months, checking in to give the contents a share every two or three weeks. We strongly recommend you don’t open the jar to stir or taste as this will introduce oxygen into the jar and could start oxidizing some of the precious flavor compounds!

Step 5: Use a sleeve and muslin cloth or coffee filter paper to strain the sloes through it into another container

Step 6: Do a quick taste test and start adding some of the remaining sugar to the filtered mixture. Sloes are very bitter but some people don’t like their final gin too sweet, so how much you add is up to you!

Step 7: Finally, store the drink in clean and dry bottles. Seal and label the bottles.

As we’ve seen, the sloe gin improves over time. So, you can leave it as long as you want it to stay in the bottle. Many people prefer to make sloe gin a year in advance.

There is no evidence of the difference between adding sugar at the end and beginning or whether that is good or bad. Many people believe that adding sugar at the beginning of the process prevents the gin from extracting the flavor from the sloe berries. On the other hand, others swear that adding sugar at the start has great benefits. To be safe, we added some sugar at the beginning and added the rest when storing the sloe drink.

Final Thoughts

Sloe Gin is a tasty liqueur steeped in rich English heritage.

While sometimes hard to find (especially outside of the UK) you can actually make your own sloe gin at home which is a fun and completely legal foray into making your own alcohol.

Our recipe outline above is a good starting point, but you can also play around with adding extra juniper, spices, or fruit peels to enhance the flavor.

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