Riding the Sloe Train – it’s a real fireside comfort.
It may be traditional to let sloes steep in your chosen spirit for months before you actually enjoy the results – normally around Christmas time – but it was a total accident that my miniature of 6 O’clock remained hidden in the larder for over a year. And happily it was the perfect weather for a winter warmer when it re-emerged one evening a couple of weeks back.
Followers will know we reviewed the Bristol business’s core 43% London dry style offering early on, having enjoyed it many times travelling back from London on First Great Western, while hundreds of you have read the page, containing the wonderful video clip following Brunel’s famous line down the Devon coast.
However, as I tend to favour gins like that to sweeter, fruitier offerings, when Juliet put a three-pack of 6 O’clock miniatures in my Christmas stocking in December 2018, I didn’t rush to open the blackthorn based drink. And so it was a particularly cold and miserable evening this February that I came across the darkly coloured 50 Cl sample, deciding its time had come.
According to the 6 O’clock website, its Sloe Gin benefits from an unusually high fruit-to-gin ratio, and adding “just enough sugar” to the liquid before letting it all soak for six months: which the makers claim is double the industry norm. Certainly that’s longer than most of the home made sloes I’ve been offered over the years.
Despite the underlying sweetness and an ABV of just 26% I was pleasantly surprised: sipping it neat from a small tumbler without any ice, it seemed smooth and warming with enough body that I felt it might well stand diluting with a mixer on another occasion. So 6 O’clock Sloe joins the likes of Aber Falls and the Co-op’s Pink Grapefruit and Elderflower concoction as gins we think work well on their own.
And if you’d like to take the ‘Sloe Train’ yourself, on-line retailers such as the Gin Kiosk can express a 70 cl bottle to your door for around £35.