Sloe Gin is Quickly Catching On

It’s my Birthday! Yep, today is the day. November 11th. Eleven/Eleven!

Don’t ask how old I am though, not that I wouldn’t tell you; it’s just that I have not quite decided how old I am going to be this year. I used 32 for way too many years. I can’t really get away with that one anymore. So I gotta think of a new age. Once I decide you’ll be the first to know. I promise.

In the meantime what are we going to do to celebrate? I am not really a “gifts” kind of person. Presents always make me uncomfortable, in an I“m not worthy kind of way. It’s always excruciating, even when I love the present, because I always manage to come across as ungrateful. I can be such a prickly bastard. I don’t know why. In actuality I have never been given a gift I did not love whole-heartedly. I just have trouble expressing it in any other way than an I’m not worthy kind of way.

It’s kind of like that scene in the movie Harold and Maude. Harold gives Maude a lovely token of his love and she flings it into the bay as Harold watches in astonishment. She then sighs contentedly and says, to Harold’s confusion– “so I’ll always know where it is.” It’s not that she didn’t love her present, it’s just the emotions of the moment overwhelmed her, and she acted unconventionally. Well, I am kind of like Maude, only younger and not as good looking– so don’t make any jokes, ‘cuz I’ve heard them all before.

plymouth sloe ginSo to save you the embarrassment of not really understanding why I am hiding the shiny new i‑Pod you gave me under the bed, or carefully folding that luxuriously chic cashmere sweater and burying deep in the bottom of my underwear drawer. Let’s just dispense with the gifts in the traditional sense. You can send cash instead. That always brings a smile to my sweet face!

All kidding aside, it really is my birthday, but this year I want to give you a present. I thought about passing along an enthralling story from my past. I love giving the gift of myth– urban or otherwise. But we are currently on a road trip, driving from L.A to Seattle and back again with no real plans and no real itinerary. So I don’ t have a whole lot of time. I have sights to see, and miles to go before I sleep.

But I did come across a recipe in the current Martha Stewart Living magazine. The recipe is for a cocktail. It is appropriately named The Scorpio. I say appropriately because, in case I haven’t mentioned it, it’s my birthday– which makes my Zodiac sign the appropriately coincidental sign of Scorpio.

The star ingredient of this cocktail is sloe gin. Sloe gin is not a less intelligent cousin of your standard gin. Though, it’s been know to make me stupid in the past. But that’s not its fault, now is it?

Sloe gin is a deeply red liqueur made by steeping sloe berries in gin. Which probably doesn’t help you much, does it? Because the word in that sentence you had some trouble with was not gin, now was it? No, the scary new word was sloe.

So, I’ll try again. Sloe berries are small intensely colored fruits from the blackthorn bush. Still no help?

What if I said it was a type of plum, or at least a relative of a type of plum. Would you take me at my word, quit asking questions and let me get on with it? Thank you.

Sloe gin is a nimble and delightfully crimson little sipper; neither too sweet nor too bitter. The fruit’s stones are steeped right along with the flesh and give this liqueur a nutty almond-like flavor. It is served, in all the best households, as an after-dinner drink. You would be sure to be offered some after a meal at Sup’s! shack, because I think it pairs nicely with cheese, especially strong flavored cheese (my favorite).

But today it is being served as a cocktail. A cocktail I will credit to Martha Stewart because she is always going out of her way to make sure my birthday is extra-special.

Quit smirking. Did she name a cocktail after you? Well did she??

scorpio cocktailThe Scorpio serves 2

CLICK for printable recipe

  • 4 oz plymouth sloe gin
  • 3 oz ginger ale
  • 2 t fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 t freshly grated ginger
  • ice cubes
  • lemon-peel twist for garnish
Mix the sloe gin, ginger ale, lemon juice, ginger, and ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Strain into two ice-filled glasses. Garnish with lemon-peel twist.


Greg Henry