This year’s Sloe Gin World Championships, held at the George Inn village pub near Tunbridge Wells, on Sunday 16 December, saw two previous winners awarded the top prizes.
The commercial title was retained by London-based Mother’s Ruin, who also won in 2017, while the homemade category was won by professional baker Danielle Ellis, who owns the Severn Bites artisan baking school near Dursley in Gloucester. Ellis also won the title in 2016.
Lisa de Garston from Frant came second, while third prize went to locals Mike and Jill Westwood. The highest placed international entry this year was from Clause Hahn and Stephan Groos in Germany.
Judges described the winning Mother’s Ruin as “intensely flavoured with delicious rich notes of plum and almond, balanced perfectly with the gin botanicals”. Mother’s Ruin gin is made using a recipe handed down from the mother of owner Becky Griffith. She employs an old school approach of cold infusion over a very long period of time, which is hand-made, hand-filtered and hand-bottled.
Griffith said: “We cut no corners, our sloe gin takes at least a year to become ready for sipping. We forage our sloes from all over Essex and the eastern fringes of the City, with the Essex sloes being particularly fine and full of flavour.”
Lead judge, the professional sommelier and member of the Association of Wine Educators, Lindsay Oram, said, “”It is wonderful to see such enthusiasm for keeping alive a very traditional product. There was great range of individual styles from the entrants. The worthy winners captured perfectly a balance between sweetness, depth and complexity of flavours with a silky texture that lingered beautifully in the mouth.”
Proceeds from the event this year’s event will donated to Hospice in the Weald. Samples of the entries can still be tasted at the pub, in exchange for a donation to the charity.