This beautiful plum-coloured sloe gin from Beckett's was a delight to review over these past few hot days, reminding me that sloe gin is for life, not just a Christmas essential!
Beckett's Gin is new to me, and there are 3 in their range: London Dry, Sloe and "Spirited". I was fascinated to learn they use English juniper berries from Box Hill in Surrey as part of a conservation programme in conjunction with The National Trust and Conservation England. The aim is to create a new juniper population. If you are reading this, you are likely to have an interest in the conservation of Juniper. After all No Juniper = No Gin! Also, with production footprints of all distilleries being monitored, how amazing would a quality supply of English Juniper be? So what do I think? This is the least syrupy sloe gin I've tried, and that in itself is pleasantly refreshing! On the nose, I get blackcurrant and cherries with a red wine chaser, so a good intensity. The initial taste is sweet with a richness that is deeper than its colour would suggest. The finish took me by pleasant surprise as it is complex, dry and tart in keeping with the true character of a sloe berry. Once the ice was added, this reduced. Obviously, I sipped this over ice, the original and classic sloe gin serve, and it didn't disappoint. The ice certainly changes the tart finish to prolong the sweetness but doesn't reduce the complexity. My next serve on a swelteringly hot Saturday evening was a Sloe-groni Slush! Boozy slushes are very on trend for Summer 2022, so I took this trend and married it to one of my favourite interpretations of the Italian classic Negroni. Cold to the end, bitter but fruity. A complete contradiction in that it's fun and childlike but strictly adult! This serve could be enhanced by using Beckett's London Dry. I didn't have any and have never tried it, but as they steep the Sloes in, it makes perfect sense! Finally, I tried this sloe gin in a decadent sundowner, a Sloe Gin Spritz. I added limoncello, prosecco and soda....think Aperol Spritz but more fruity. Built-in an ice-filled glass and gently stirred before garnishing with a lemon wheel, this really is a drink for all seasons......patio serve or Christmas welcome drink. A versatile and complex sloe gin that feels less sugary and is exquisite. The conservation aspect is a big plus for me. Having visited a couple of Surrey Vineyards, I know their chalky soil is great for cultivating and growing vines. With Juniper appreciating good drainage, I'm looking forward to watching and monitoring the success of this Gin brand and the conservation project.