Sipsmith: Independent Spirits: Brilliance in my glass!

January 6, 2015

With the snow lightly falling outside I've had a flash of beauty in my glass.  Sipsmith, the fiercely independent distiller from England has just infused my day with a burst of summertime.  Sure it's going to be 20 degrees (F) today for a high, but that won't stop me from savoring a few drops from a thistle glass containing their brilliant London Dry Gin.  Like the bottle says, Sipsmith? 

"we love to create all things sippical. like gin"

And that is good enough for me.  But imagine my delight when I realized that my friend Jared Brown is part of the Sipsmith Team?  Well, I hadn't put two plus two together.  So when I started to dig a bit deeper and I realized that it was indeed the same Jared Brown who feted my book Apothecary Cocktails down in New Orleans at Tales of the Cocktail last year, well.... I knew that everything was going to be marvelous and sippable! 

This is marvelous, world-class gin... It's tactile, robust and finishes with a restraint that belies my already vivid imagination.  There's all sorts of things going on in my metered sips...  The juniper berry is there, and then the botanicals reveal themselves gently.  The alcohol is 41.6%, but it drinks much softer.  There is a generous sweetness in the mouth, not candy but something like milk sugar.  It opens with each passing second into floral notes and freshly cut summer herbs.  The alcohol numbs my tongue lightly, it is not yet 11:00 in the morning, some would say much to early to drink...

I'd say, it's not too early to drink gin.  After all it is snowing outside. 

I commend the makers of Sipsmith Gin.  This is just the perfect remedy to the snow.  You could drink it alone in a snifter with just a squeeze of orange, or in a perfect "Pink" Gin with several shakes of Angostura Bitters, of course for medicinal purposes only!

Tasting Notes:  Freshly cut summer herbs, lemon zest dipped in sea salt, hazelnut brittle, bitter chocolate, sea air...

The Sipsmith Sloe Gin is authentic Sloe Gin, right down to the Sloe Plum used in the infusion.  Authentic Sloe Gin is a rarity in the world.  It is a combination of sour to savory in flavor, yet it finishes with an elegant flourish and toasty notes of brioche, split and slathered with freshly churned butter and "sloe plum" jam.  Each sip is woven from an exotic fabric that takes the juniper berry and graciously combines it with the "high in antioxidant" elixir from afar. 

Sloe Gin is an institution from another generation.  Most Americans only know it as a cheap drunk- found under a bar.  You really don't want to over apply Sloe Gin, that's probably where it got its bad boy reputation.  There is sugar in there- and it's the kind of sugar that will sting you if you're not careful.  But in a Sloe Gin Fizz, a most sophisticated cocktail made with a base of the Sloe plum, nothing is cheap here.  If I made a Sloe Gin Fizz with Sipsmith Sloe Gin, it would not be recognizable by the shot happy collegians who tainted this gorgeous slurp from "one time too many" and then utter ignorance.  Fools they are!

The Sloe Gin from Sipsmith is handcrafted with passion and love.  It deserves your hard earned dollars and careful attention. 

Tasting Notes:  Bitter Chocolate, sloe plum stone fruit paste, Maine sea salt, Spanish leather, candy sugar, freshly raked leaves, earth... 

Here is my slightly twisted method of making a Sloe Gin Fizz... Oh, I wouldn't order one of these in your local gas and go cocktail lounge... they just won't have this quality bottle behind their bar, and that's just too bad.  They don't know what they are missing!

I call it: 

Hedderwick and Dickie Fizz


2 oz. Sloe Gin from Sipsmith....  or a quality product like Greenhook Ginsmiths who make a similar liqueur with Beach Plum....

1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 oz. Demerara Sugar powered in a mortar and pestle until a very fine powder...

Splash of Club Soda

Pinch of Sea Salt

Drops of Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters (for balance)


Add an ice spear to a Collins glass to chill

In a mixing glass- fill 3/4 with bar ice

Add the Demerara Sugar powder

Add the Lemon Juice

Add the Sloe Gin

Stir gently.. It's not a race!

Strain into the Collins glass

Add a splash of club soda

Add the pinch of sea salt

Dot with the Bitter Truth Lemon Bitters to finish... 


My Second book, Whiskey Cocktails, along with last year's Apothecary Cocktails are out now!