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Fernwoods Gimlet

I was wondering around Fernwood one hot Sunday afternoon and noticed the abundance of fennel growing in peoples gardens and on the street.  Realizing the flavor profile of tarragon, aniseed and liquorice that the Genever possesses I thought it would be great to introduce the fennel to the gin in the form of a refreshing summer gimlet.  I played around with different syrups but found the purée gave the strongest flavour.  I’ve used fennel with chocolate when cooking in the past and wanted to try the combination again with this drink.  The results are a layered, yet light and refreshing cocktail with hints of chocolate and lots of Anis vibes from the gin and fennel.  I’ll be keeping this one in my repertoire for sure.

Baz placing sprig of fennel on cocktail glass.

Ingredients

Method 

Chill a coupe glass in the freezer 10 minutes before making the cocktail.  
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker starting with the least expensive in case you make a mistake (so the bitters, then the lime, then the purée, then finally the genever.  This will be the same for all the cocktails I make).  Top with ice and shake for 10-15 seconds.  Double strain in to the chilled the coupe glass and garnish with the fennel sprig. 

Fennel purée

(makes 12 cocktails)
  • Two medium sized fennel bulbs - roughly chopped 
  • 300g raw cane sugar 
  • 200ml water 
  • Pinch of salt

Method 

In a bowl, massage the sugar in to the chopped fennel, cover and leave in the fridge for 4 hours.  This draws out a lot of flavour from the fennel and makes a more punchy purée.   Put the macerated fennel in a pot and add the water.  Bring to a boil then simmer for 3 minutes or until the sugar is fully dissolved.  Leave the pot to cool down for 30 minutes then add to a blender, add the salt and blend in to a smooth purée.  This could take a couple of minutes depending on your blender.  
Strain through a very fine sieve using the back of a ladle ( I recommend a Chinois strainer), leave to cool then cover well and pop it in the fridge.  This recipe will make around 12 cocktails and will last in the fridge for up a week.  The purée goes crazy well with chocolate ice cream too.