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10th Sloe Gin World Championships

Added: (Tue Oct 09 2018)

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Sloe Gin World Championship 2018 announced

New charity sought as beneficiary

The date for this year Sloe Gin World Championships has been set for Sunday 16th December. The popular annual competition is held at The George Inn in the Sussex village of Frant, near Tunbridge Wells.

This, the 10th Championship, which has traditionally donated proceeds to MS Society which supports people with Multiple Sclerosis, is looking to find a new charity partner.

The MS Society has been chosen by default when an impromptu tasting of home-made sloe gin in one of the competition’s early days, was offered to pub customers, in exchange for a donation. An MS Society collection jar had been conveniently at hand on the bar.

Pub regular, ‘Merlot’ Mike Matthews, has been a long-term victim of MS. Sadly, Mike (70) died peacefully at home in an arm chair in September last year, shortly after making his final batch of sloe gin just a few days before.

Pub goer and reigning Sloe Gin World Champion, George Shaw, who lives in Frant said: “With ‘Merlot’ Mike’s passing we decided it was time to adopt another charity. We’ve always struggled to get the MS Society to help promote the event, despite the vast amount of publicity it attracts. They didn’t even want to come to the pub to collect the money.”

Former MS Society patron JK Rowling, whose mother died aged 45 from multiple sclerosis, stepped down from the charity, flowing reports on internal wranglings.

“Ideally, we’d like to partner with a national charity with a strong local presence. Perhaps one that could help organise similar regional events, across the country a week or two before – then sending the local winners forward to the World Championships,” added Shaw.

Charites willing to participate can email geo@avovcadomedia.co.uk

Last year, the Championships attracted entries from as far afield as Vancouver in Canada and Germany.

There are also competition categories to include entries for other liqueurs such as damson gin and sloe vodka.

Last year London-based Mother’s Ruin, scooped the top prize in the commercial category, with local Anno Distillery of Marden in Kent, being awarded the silver medal.

There were also notable entries from The Lakes Sloe Gin in Cumbria, Devine Vineyards in British Columbia in Canada, Raisthorpe Manor Fine Foods of Malton, in North Yorkshire, Addingham Fruit Liqueurs in West Yorkshire, and Demijohn from Edinburgh, who were all Highly Commended.

The event began when pub locals began arguing over the perfect sloe gin recipe. Dating back to around 1750, The George Inn, a traditional country pub with cosy log fires, is said to make an ideal setting to judge the most traditional of Christmas liqueurs.

Homemade entries, accompanied by a completed entry form, may be submitted on the day by 1:00pm. Judging begins at 3:00pm. The deadline for entries to this year’s Sloe Gin World Championships is 12:00 noon on the day of the event – for postal entries which have preregistered. Online registration closes at 6:00pm on 11th December.

Commercial entries cost £45 and private ones £5.

Further information on entering the Sloe Gin World Championships via www.moondown.co.uk

Editors’ Notes: Two miles south of Tunbridge Wells, Frant is bordered by Eridge Park and is on the High Weald Walk making it a popular stop for walkers. The heart of the local community, the busy George Inn has its own golf society, “the Gofers” and is a meeting point for several local clubs and societies. Winter is enlivened by the Monday night quiz, special food nights, and darts competitions.

Dating to around 1750, the traditional country pub, with two bars and restaurant, traditional English food with continental influences, hand drawn beers, oak beams, a large enclosed garden and dogs lying by log fires in winter – The George Inn makes an ideal setting to judge the most traditional of Christmas liqueurs.

Sloes, a smaller relative of the plum, are used to make the red liqueur normally with an alcohol content between 15 and 30% abv. Traditionally it is made by infusing gin with the bitter-tasting drupes, using sugar to extract the sloe juices.

Sloe gin is made from ripe sloes that, by tradition, are picked after the first frost of winter. Each drupe should be hand-picked with a thorn taken from the blackthorn bush on which it grew. Some sloe gin connoisseurs say that the drupes may only be pricked silver pin or fork.

Modern protagonists pick the sloes earlier and freeze them, avoiding the pricking stage, claiming that this not only splits the drupes, but by analogy to ice wine, the freezing changes the flavour of the drupes.

Media Contact: Contact George Shaw T 01892 750851
M: 07860 695555 E: shaw.geo@gmail.com

Photos and recipes available.

The George Inn
36 High Street, Frant, Tunbridge Wells TN3 9DU
T: 01892 730350
Tw @GeorgeInnFrant

Submitted by:George Shaw
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