1 1/2 oz. Sloe Gin, 1 oz. Sweet Vermouth

Shake over ice, Strain into a chilled Cocktail glass, Garnish with a Lemon twist

Back to the Everything Bartender
Prunus Spinosa, Blackthorn, Sloe, Slåen (Danish)

The Blackthorn is a thorny shrub native to, and widespread throughout most of northern Europe. It has also been introduced to the USA and other countries. Forming a thick bush, it is often used in hedges, its long spines an effective deterrent to livestock. It is, perhaps, most commonly known for its fruit: sloes, which are small and very bitter plums. Whilst too sour to eat straight off, they are used to make sloe gin and sloe wine.

The Blackthorn flowers in springtime with white, five-petalled blossoms covering the leaf-free twigs. These pretty blooms are at odds with the long, sharp thorns from which the shrub gets its name. The bark is a very dark brown or even black colour.

Blackthorn is a very invasive plant and can be often found growing in clumps on wasteground, spreading through suckers more than seeding. These shrubs rarely exceed a few metres in height and grow very slowly, forming dense fruitwood traditionally used to make the Irish shillelagh.

The Blackthorn is claimed to have medicinal properties, being attributed as an aperient, astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic and stomachic (which is laxative, anti-laxative(!), sweat-inducing, wee-making and good for the tummy, respectively.) It also appears to be used as a homeopathic remedy for many types of pain.

There was a blackthorn hedge behind the goalposts at my junior school. It held within it many punctured footballs.
Thanks to liveforever for the Danish!

Black"thorn` (?), n. Bot. (a)

A spreading thorny shrub or small tree (Prunus spinosa), with blackish bark, and bearing little black plums, which are called sloes; the sloe.


A species of Crataegus or hawthorn (C. tomentosa). Both are used for hedges.


© Webster 1913.

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