As the name suggests, sloe gin is made of sloe berries, gin, and sugar, resulting in a smooth, fruity, red liqueur.
High-quality sloe gin has an earthy and plum taste with almond undertones, working exceptionally in many cocktails or on its own.
What happens when you can’t find sloe gin at home or can’t find any in your local liquor store?
We’ll help you out with this list of the best sloe gin substitutes, so read on!
What is a Good Substitute for Sloe Gin?
If you have no sloe gin available, there are many different alternatives to use, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
While these substitutes won’t capture the exact same flavors sloe gin offers, they are close seconds that still bring authenticity to your beverages.
Some of these substitutes may have different flavor profiles and are great if you experiment with taste.
1. Plum Brandy
There are various plum brandies available that make suitable sloe gin substitutes. One of the more popular ones includes Sljivovica, the Serbian national drink made from plums.
Sljivovica has a stronger alcohol content, so it’s best to reduce the amount you use in a cocktail recipe like a negroni or sloe gin fizz.
You can also serve this drink on its own as a digestif, paired with dried prunes.
You can also try Vizantija Plum Rakija, another plum brandy made with three kinds of plums. This liqueur was aged for four years, having a fruity and nutty flavor with vanilla aromas.
These two plum brandies are clear or amber, so note this and how it can change your drink’s appearance.
Besides plum brandy, you can also try apricot, cherry, or blackberry brandy.
Learn more: What’s a Good Substitute For Brandy in any recipes?
2. Damson Gin
Sloe berries aren’t the only fruits used for infusing in gin. Damson plums are another similar-tasting fruit that gives the damson gin a vibrant red color and fruity flavor.
Furthermore, you get an earthy flavor profile with a sweet and tart taste, similar to sloe gin! So, if you’re looking for a substitute, you can’t go wrong with damson gin.
There are so many different brands and varieties of damson gin available, with one of the most popular being Averell. This beverage has a unique aroma similar to sweet vermouth and cherry juice.
Averell is tarter than sloe gins, so it’s not the best choice if you want to drink it neat. It also has a 33% ABV, higher than sloe gin, which is worth noting. That said, we recommend this damson gin brand for cocktails like the Charlie Chaplin or Blackthorn cocktail.
3. Grenadine (Editor’s Choice for Non-Alcoholic Alternative)
Grenadine is an excellent non-alcoholic substitute for sloe gin.
It’s a famous cocktail syrup that will add that attractive red color to cocktails and mocktails, perfect for the Hedgerow Royale.
This syrup is made with pomegranate, with the flavor deviating a bit farther from sloe gin. However, grenadine has a sweet and tart flavor, giving drinks a similar fruity taste.
Learn more: What’s The Best Grenadine Substitute?
4. Sloe Berry Syrup
Sloe berry syrup is as popular as grenadine among bartenders and mixologists. It’s a non-alcoholic mixer that gives mocktails that liqueur taste. If you want to make your drink alcoholic, add a gin shot.
However, it’s not an easy ingredient to find outside the UK, so you may have to purchase it from online stores.
Grappa is a liqueur made of grape pomace, having a high alcohol content ranging from 37.5-60%. It has a sour plum taste with just a hint of honey.
While this liqueur doesn’t mimic sloe gin completely, it has the fruity flavor that gives your drink that similar punch.
6. Sloe Berry Vodka
Besides sloe gin, there’s also such a thing as sloe berry vodka. We recommend brands like Ursus Roter Sloe Berry Flavored Vodka, a deep crimson shade suitable for sloe gin martinis.
This drink is fruity, spicy, and with tart undertones. It has a 21% ABV, so it packs enough punch as sloe gin does. It’s a great cocktail shaker with a fruity cocktail recipe, like the Alabama slammer!
You can also use other vodkas as a substitute, such as damson, blackcurrant, raspberry, or rosehip vodka.
7. Homemade Sloe Gin with Sloe Berries Recipe
You can’t go wrong with making your sloe gin. You can make a better sloe gin to get more of the authentic taste to your drinks, though it will take time!
It might not be easy to find sloe berries growing wild from a Blackthorn bush. But it’s possible to find them for sale in online stores or specialty food stores.
Follow this simple homemade sloe gin recipe:
- 2 cups of fresh and rinsed sloe berries (dried sloe berries work as well as fresh ones when making your sloe gin)
- 2 cups of gin
- 1 cup of sugar
- Place sloe berries in your freezer overnight for the skins to slit, which helps in the macerating process. If you have no time, then prick berries using a skewer.
- Mix sugar and gin in a large jar, then add your sloe berries.
- Seal the lid and place it in a cool, dry place for two months. Would you please keep it away from any heat sources like the sun or oven? Shake the mixture occasionally to help infuse the fruit into the drink.
- After two months, strain the liquid in a container with a cheesecloth or coffee filter, reserving your leftover fruit for other dishes or drinks.
- Taste test and add more simple syrup if you want. Store it in a clean jar or bottle in your fridge or pantry if you love the flavor.
Get recipe: craftginclub.co.uk
Sloe Gin Fun Facts
Check out where sloe gin came to be and why it’s such a popular drink with these fast facts:
- Sloe gin comes from England, made of sloe berries. The sloe berries were then soaked in gin and mixed with sugar!
- Sloe berries are drupes from the Prunus spinosa plant, part of the plum family. This fruit grows wild around England, and once infused with liquor, it tastes like plums. Please don’t eat them on their own, though, because these berries taste terrible! (*)
- The brits have been enjoying this liqueur for centuries, consumed as a digestif and for cold nights. Today, it’s a popular cocktail ingredient for lazy afternoons or parties in the USA.
- There are two kinds of sloe gin available in the USA. The expensive variety is made by soaking berries in high proof gin, while the less expensive variety is made by soaking sloe berries in neutral grain alcohol.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hold up! We’ve got more for you with our frequently asked questions about sloe gin!
Wrapping It Up
Other than the alternatives to sloe gin we mentioned above, you may want to consider using other liqueurs like amaretto, tequila, bourbon, or even orange juice.
These may not embody the flavors you wish to from sloe gin; they are a good replacement when you’re in a pinch.
We hope you got the perfect substitute to sloe gin based on our list!
Good luck, and enjoy your next cocktails in style.