Thursday, September 20, 2012
Cocktail Wednesdays: (English) Blackthorn
When we were in Atlanta at Green's buying alcohol for Dragon*Con, we picked up a bottle of sloe gin to try, since it's an old variety that we've heard about, but neither of us have tried. In England, blackthorn bushes are a common componant of hedgerows, bushes that are trained and used as living fences around fields. The berry that grows on this spiny bush is called a sloe berry. Traditionally, these berries are macerated and steeped in gin, creating a garnet colored liqueur with a flavor of its own.
The sloe gin itself is astringent and has strong flavors of plum, a relative of the blackthorn, and a general rich concentrated fruitiness that reminds me of port. It reminded some people of certain medicine flavorings, but I found that the more I drank it, the less astringent it seemed, and the more it felt like a plum port. I would love to try it with some blue cheese -- or perhaps Stilton.
The drink I chose for today is the Blackthorn. Since there are several drinks with this name. I did not choose the drink from the Savoy Cocktail Book, which is also known as the Irish Blackthorn. I believe this one is known as the English Blackthorn. I have definitely seen the same drink with different proportions called Blackthorn English. I believe this is because the Savoy recipe uses irish whiskey, while this recipe uses gin, wich is widely known for its popularity in England (at least at a certain era).
2 oz Sloe Gin
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 Dash Orange Bitters
Stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The verdict: I like this one , but I do like the sloe gin anyway. I find the vermouth tones it down a bit and makes it less astringent. In general, I find this has a flavor of rich red fruits. All of the ingredients blend nicely together. Scott found it difficult to identify the components, but he did only take a small sip of the sloe gin before.