If you’ve ever had Maraschino Liqueur, you’re familiar with the incredible flavor of the Marasca cherry. Unusual for its dark flesh and bitter, tannic flavor it wasn’t ideal for eating on its own. In its native range on the Dalmatian coast of modern day Croatia, the people there did what nearly all people did with bitter, but still potable fruit (you think Johnny Appleseed was planting fresh Washington Apples to keep the doctor away? Those were rank, mealy-fleshed cider apples, but I digress). They distilled them.
By definition, the Marasca cherry is the only ingredient in Maraschino liqueur, though most modern “Maraschinos” use an accord of multiple cherries. Gin drinkers know how good Cherry goes with gin if they’ve ever had an Aviation.
Cherry Gin isn’t unique to That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Introductory Line. Canadian Dillon’s Distillers make an excellent Cherry Gin (which we gave a gold medal to back in 2015). Although Cherry Gin, Batch 1 is intended to be made in “the finest sloe gin tradition,” it’s bottled at a very non-sloe-gin tradition 42.6%.
Deep purple, red with a slight brown undertone. It strikes me as being almost in color to bottled Concord Grape juice. Darker and clearly more cherry than Sloe just in terms of color.
The nose at first blush has an impressive top note that began with a hint of coriander and marzipan, it quickly evaporated leaving a rustic, thick black cherry and Grenadine, sugary, syrupy notes. It smells impressively light, as if a liqueur. You’d almost think that this was 40 proof— max. I have a dark cherry liqueur that has nearly the same sweet nose on it.
The tip of the tongue is bombarded with an incredible pronounced sweetness. Dark chocolate mid-palate, juniper berry, a touch of vanilla-cherry jam. It quickly becomes impressively assertive and spice-forward. Warmer and more classically gin-like.
There’s sips where I get more gin character, and there’s sips where I get more cherry and fruit cordial character.
The finish is medium length with tart plum, blackberry, coriander and pine.
There’s very few gins which go with cola, but don’t shy away from trying the Cherry Gin & Cola. It tastes less like a literal cherry cola and more like Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper owing to the spice. I think Coke is a more natural mixer than tonic in a Gin and Tonic, which I don’t think quite works here. Bartenders take note, at 84 proof this isn’t a “weak” drink. This is more of a “Whiskey and Coke” than a “Midori Sour,” but it is easy to drink and nearly as sweet as the latter. This could be a completely new opportunity for gin behind the bar.
It’s sweet and more like a very strong bottled Sloe Gin, so I suggested treating it like one. Although not a Sloe Gin, the Sloe Gin Fizz formula, with that addition of lemon juice makes for a delicious and crowd pleasing drink.
It’s a beautiful combination of cherry and gin. I really enjoy the flavor and appreciate the strength and relative lack of literal sweetness. It’s a spirit more than a liqueur and for that alone, I definitely recommend it.
As for balance, the Cherry seems at times not completely integrated into the flavor profile of the gin— they sometimes seem at odds with one another as if the Cherry was not part of the original plan.
But how can I quibble with something this delicious. If this is indeed an experiment, then let Dillon’s Cherry Gin and That Boutique-y Gin Company’s Cherry Gin Batch 1 be evidence that Cherry Gin may well be the next great evolution of Sloe Gin. I wish I had more and I wish more distillers were doing things quite like this.
Recommended in its category.
Thanks for submitting! Your review will be posted shortly.