With a maturation time of seven years, it ought to be called “slow gin,” which is often what people think the word is. The sloe berry is a lovely blue which when touched turns to black, and was once very prevalent among British hedgerows, along with rosehips and blackberries. Rosehips, full of vitamin C, aren’t good to eat, but make a lovely sweet cordial.
The sugar is necessary to extract the essence from the berries in the alcohol, which turns a deep red color.
Here is Joe Bonamassa singing his song “Sloe Gin.” It was originally written and performed by Tim Curry.
The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book, Alice B. Toklas, 1954
Also from this book: One Toke Over The Line