Also known as the blackthorn bush or by its Latin name, Prunus spinosa, this large European hedgerow plant produces the small, tart fruit used to make sloe gin. It’s hard to find in these parts, but try Forest Farm nursery in Oregon or Lincoln Oakes nursery in North Dakota. Sloes can take a little light shade, but they do get over 12 feet tall, so give them plenty of room and don’t expect fruit for a few years—sloes are, well, slow. The instructions for making sloe gin are pretty similar to those of cassis, except you’ll use gin.
Or you can just go buy a bottle of sloe gin. Plymouth is distributing it again in the United States, and it’s a fine thing. To make a fizz, shake two ounces of sloe gin, a hearty squeeze of lemon juice, a dollop of simple syrup, and the white of one recently-laid egg in a shaker with no ice. Shake for 30 seconds, then add ice and keep shaking. Pour into a glass over ice and top with club soda. (and if drinking raw eggs freaks you out, don’t do it.)