Taking the sloe boat

IMG_6578Like half the universe I love a good negroni, and I am devoted fan of a classic dry martini. But, good as they are, it’s nice to find something new. And while this is hard to believe, given the profusion of cocktail lists around town, I’ve been getting a bit bored with the alternatives on offer.

Most seem to be collections of lots of overly sweet stuff added to a bit of strong alcohol. It’s all too syrupy and cluttered for me (but then, I’m not a big fan of sweet flavours). And I don’t think it’s really a cocktail if it’s one spirit with a bunch of fruit juices and soft drinks.

But last night I discovered a new favourite. I’m a long way from home and one of the ingredients involved I’d never heard of before, so I think this means I’m going to have to find a way to make it myself.

We’re in a ski town for a few days, and followed a recommendation to the incongruously named Yacht Club. (Well, there’s a river … )

There I discovered the Boat Royal cocktail – sloe gin, rhubarb bitters and champagne. It’s the best-tasting drink I’ve had in a long time.

The Dark & Stormy
The Dark & Stormy

The ingredients are interesting. I know I can buy sloe gin these days, but I’ve made something very similar and love it. I didn’t have access to sloe berries, but I suddenly had a bunch of a particular old-fashioned plum (not a sweet, eating variety) that was similar. I used whole plums for one version, and for another I used just the pips and put it aside for about a year. I think I liked that one even better.

The rhubarb bitters is something I’ve never heard of, but since I adore rhubarb it appealed.

I found a recipe for rhubarb bitters online which has some seriously fabulous ingredients. It sounds both expensive and complicated, but worth the effort. I’m going to try to make it as soon as I get home again.

My drinking companions had a collection of interesting drinks too – the Dark & Stormy (Kraken spiced rum and home-made ginger beer, which is similar to the cocktails I talked about in my Stormy Weather post back in November), and the Snowboat Sling (sloe gin, Tanqueray gin, Heering cherry liqueur, lime juice, sugar, soda and orange bitters).

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