Plymouth Sloe Gin is a quintessentially English drink – the origins of which have been lost in time. Although sloe berries grow all over Europe and many countries have their own version, it is the English style that is the most familiar. Come October, blackthorn bushes start to produce their fruit. The sloes are handpicked. This can be tricky since the blackthorn has very sharp thorns! They are then steeped in Plymouth Gin until the flavor has reached the desired intensity.
The Plymouth Distillery is the oldest working distillery in England. It has been making Plymouth Gin according to the original recipe since 1793. The building dates back to the early 1400s, with the most intact part of the distillery, the Refectory Room - a medieval hall with a fine hull-shaped timber roof built in 1431, being one of the oldest buildings in Plymouth. It is thus protected as a national monument and is one of the city's most precious heritage. The Distillery buildings were formerly a monastery inhabited by the Black Friars. The Pilgrim Fathers even spent their last night in England here in 1620. It was from the distillery they made the short walk down to the harbor to set sail on the Mayflower on their epic voyage to start a new life in America, where they founded a new Plymouth. The Mayflower ship forms Plymouth Gin's trademark label today. Black Friars is indisputably the oldest working gin distillery with records of a 'malt-house' on the premises going back to 1697.
First prepared by 13th century Italian monks as herbal medicines and elixirs, Liqueurs are distilled spirits that have been combined with flavoring agents. A range of herbs, spices, nuts, fruits and flowers can be used, and a sweetener such as sugar or corn syrup is often added. While typically rather sweet, some examples are herbaceous or tart and pair exceptionally well with desserts or act as a delightful addition to cocktails.