Sloe gin competition update

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We must apologise to readers for misinforming them, last week, of the date of this year’s Rye News sloe gin competition. Our editor was so keen to get tasting that he inadvertently brought it forward by a week. The correct information is below:

Date: Thursday January 26. Entries to arrive by 7:30pm. Judging commences at 8pm

Venue: Olde Worlde Wines, Cinque Ports Street

Entries to be in a glass container containing at least 100ml of sloe gin for judging (more if possible so we all can have a taste), and should be labelled with the contestant’s name and stating if it is 2015 or vintage. Sloe gin makers can also leave their entries at Olde Worlde Wines for the competition.

All entries must be homemade; no shop-bought entries will be eligible for consideration for the competition but could be used as samples to compare with the homebrew.  

There is a category for 2015 sloe gin and vintage sloe gin.

Contestants should have a good constitution for sampling all brews that are entered.

All entries will be blind-tasted by the judges.

Afterwards everyone will be able to sample the entries to see which is their personal favourite.

Rye is not the only venue for a Sloe Gin contest. Recently the George at Frant hosted the 8th World Sloe Gin Championship.

The “liquid deli”, Demijohn, which has outlets in Edinburgh, Glasgow, York and Oxford, using sloes foraged in Worcestershire, was crowned Sloe Ginster World Champion for the third year in succession. The silver medal went to London based Mother’s Ruin. The bronze medal was awarded to Bramley & Gage’s 6 O’Clock gin from Thornbury in Bristol. Elephant Gin made in Germany, but with South African origins, received a Highly Commended award.

The homemade category, which attracted more than 30 entries, a record number, was won by Danielle Ellish from Cambridge. Susan Gage from Hailsham came second. Third place went to Zoe Rutterford from Essex. Interestingly, in the blind tasting, the three judges – Anita Martin, Mark Baldwin and Dianna Morris – all scored the top six homemade entries above any of the commercial contestants.

Demijohn’s winning sloe gin was described by judges as, “Not too sweet, not too dry and a perfect drink for the winter,” and is based on a family recipe dating back to 1842. It is made by a husband and wife team, Colin and Phyllis Hingston, in Worcestershire. Although the recipe, which uses London dry gin, is a closely guarded secret, Demijohn MD Angus Ferguson advises those making their own concoction: “Never infuse for less than 10 months to ensure a rich and deep flavour.”

The dry late summer made for a late growing season for sloes, or drupes – the bitter fruit of the blackthorn – bush but foragers were rewarded with an early first frost, after which by tradition, the berries are harvested.

Photo: library image

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