With summer in full swing, we finally have access to fantastic seasonal produce like cherries. I love mixing up cocktails with this particular stone fruit because of its fantastic sweet-tart flavour and the brilliant shade of ruby red it imparts.
Since cherries are grown in Ontario and celebrate the abundance of our region, I wanted to pair them with a special spirit that also clearly communicates a sense of place. With that in mind, the obvious choice was Tobermory Hebridean Gin. Inspired by the Isle of Mull, where its distilled, Tobermory Hebridean Gin is a unique spirit inspired by its coastal setting and local botanicals including fragrant elderflower, delicate tea and wild heather.
This post is sponsored by Tobermory.
On the palate, Tobermory Hebridean Gin boasts woody flavours of fresh juniper are balanced with sweet orange and lemon, hints of coriander, gentle herbs and spices, with a luxurious, creamy mouth-feel and a subtle hint of sweet malt – thanks to the addition of a splash of spirit from the Tobermory whisky stills that’s used to create a unique character for this award-winning gin.
The sweet-tart flavour of fresh Ontario cherries pairs beautifully with the woody and citrusy character of this gin while a fennel syrup and lacy fennel frond garnish enhance the hints of coriander and subtle herbs and spices in Tobermory Hebridean Gin. Cherry and fennel are a winning combination in their own right as the dominant liquorice flavour in the herb balances the acidity and sweetness of the fruit.
A hint of medium-dry amontillado sherry adds a touch of nutty, earthy character that amplifies the fennel in this Cherry Fennel Gin Fizz.
Aside from its fantastic flavour, one of things I love most about Tobermory Hebridean Gin is that it is crafted by a woman. Master Blender Julieann Fernandez is responsible for this latest spirit sensation from Distell Group Ltd. She helms Deanston, Bunnahbhain and Tobermory/Ledaig, overseeing the malts and blends for the group and injecting new energy and approaches to a centuries-old tradition of distilling.
Fernandez was recently received the 2022 regional “Icon of Whisky” award for Scotland at the World Whisky Awards; one of the youngest individuals to earn this coveted distinction on the global stage. Fernandez’s passion for crafting spirits for younger audiences and women has created quite the stir in the spirits world and speaks to a welcome shift away from traditional whisky stereotypes.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Julieann Fernandez over Zoom and discover how she is infusing her spirits with fresh approaches and new ideas. You can watch the full video below.
Tobermory Hebridean Gin took home the Silver Medal at the 2021 World Gin Awards, and we’re fortunate to now have access to this prize-winning spirit in BC, Alberta and Ontario. If you’re located in any of these provinces, head to your nearest liquor store to grab a bottle and shake up this Cherry Fennel Gin Fizz.
For more recipes, check out these original creations crafted by great Canadian bartenders.
Cherry Fennel Gin Fizz
Tobermory Hebridean Gin creates a beautiful foundation for this cocktail with flavours of woody juniper, citrus, coriander, and subtle herbs and spices. Combined with sweet-tart cherries and liquorice-dominant fennel, this is a balanced and beautiful summer sipper.
- 4 pitted cherries halved
- 1 1/2 oz Tobermory gin
- 1/4 oz amontillado sherry
- 3/4 oz lemon juice
- 3/4 oz fennel syrup
- Club soda to top
- Garnish: fennel frond
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 2 tbsp fennel seed
Muddle cherries with fennel syrup in a shaker tin.
Add remaining ingredients, excluding club soda, and shake over ice until well-chilled.
Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.
Top with club soda, stir gently.
Garnish with a fennel frond.
Combine sugar, water and fennel in small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until sugar is dissolved.
Turn off heat and let stand for 30 minutes to allow fennel flavour to develop.
Strain out fennel seed. Syrup will keep in airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks.