Monday, June 17, 2013

Mixology Monday, June 2013: Cherry, part 1

Rise and shine, early birds! It's Mixology Monday!

Andrea of Gin Hound is our host for the month, with the theme Cherry.
Singapore Gin Sling, Blood and Sand and the Aviation wouldn't be the same without them. They are brilliant in pies, go great with pork dishes and may even be a super food able to combat insomnia.

But cherries in cocktails are also horribly abused, few things taste worse than artificial cherry aroma and the description of how most maraschino cherries are made can make you sick to your stomach.

So it's my pleasure as the host of Mixology Monday number 74 to challenge you to honor the humble cherry.

However you choose to do that, is entirely up to you. You could use Maraschino Liqueur, Cherry Heering, Kirchwasser, Belgian Kriek Beer, cherry wine or any spectacular infusions invented by you in a cocktail. Or make your own maraschino cherries for a spectacular garnish.
When active, these 2 links will send you to the summary posts of this month's festivities.

I'm going to divide this post in twain, if only because I'm only allowed 200 characters of labels per post.

My first offering came about after noting the interesting flavor combination of Solerno and marzipan (or orgeat, as one would have to translate to cocktails). Some noodling and taste-association led to a classic-styled wine-based cocktail featuring kirschwasser, the cherry-and-pomace eau-de-vie. I think the name sums it up quite nice:

Sweetness and Light
1 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz kirschwasser
1 bsp* Solerno blood orange liqueur
1 bsp orgeat
3 dashes Bokers bitters
lemon twist

*I use 3/4 tsp as my barspoon measurement, precision being important here for how easily this could be oversweet vs. the bitters taking over.

Shake and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a lemon twist.


For as intriguing a combo as Solerno and orgeat are, they're also highly sweet cocktail elements, limiting their usage in a balanced drink: proper spirit bases would be needed. Kirschwasser seemed a natural start, particularly with orgeat's almond. But given how intense kirsch could be, only so much could be used of it too. And I didn't want to make this too heavy a drink, so, eschewing a natural fit like gin, a wine base seemed a good final component. Dry vermouth's herbals were ok but didn't mesh the best, so I opened my first bottle of Lillet Blanc and hit paydirt. With each of the elements being sweet in body or sweet in taste, and the combined drink reading like something out of a classic cocktail book (kinda similar to this one, in fact), a few dashes of Bokers and a lemon twist turned in elegant finishing stylings.

The kirsch dominates on the nose and palate. Lemon joins on the nose in a lemonade-like way, while Solerno and orgeat pull the kirsch in two different directions. Solerno volcanically undergirds the cherry in the kirsch, while orgeat grabs hold of the pomace and seduces it away in waves of satin. Undersung base Lillet serves as a canvas, with gentian notes pairing with Bokers to keep everything in line.

And please look to the following post for an additional MxMo recipe, this time with Jack Daniels.