Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Virginia Sakura

[Update, 03-20-2013: Call it a rookie mistake, explicitly naming a cocktail with a brand name (without so much as asking). I was delving into my love of bourbon by exploring the different brands available --including Jefferson's-- and, as you might expect, with love comes inspiration. With this particular bourbon I noticed an interesting swiss chocolate note that truly reminded me of cherry blossom trees for some reason, so I wanted to play that up in a cocktail, deliberately skirting actual cherry flavor in favor of the "everything else" of the tree. When it came time to name the cocktail, well, if you google, you'll see scads of recipes with "cherry blossom" in their name (which miffs me because they tend to have a straight cherry flavor: cherry blossoms don't taste like cherries, cherries do!). Given my focus on Jefferson's Bourbon, all other potential names tended to fall short of "Jefferson's Cherry Blossom", noodle on this though I did.

I've stuck with this name for about 9 months now (not so comfortably), and I think it's overdue for a fix for the longer term. Recently I've received some feedback on the recipe using a different bourbon (Bowman's), and it sounds like it turned out quite well with the substitution: "etherealized bourbon" summed up the impression. I imagine any classic/not-too-spicy profile bourbon would also work well in the cocktail. This recipe/post's link has to remain "Jefferson's Cherry Blossom" due to Blogger's set-up (all previous links will continue to function, natch), but given the cocktail seems to hold up with substitutions and I still have on my mind the third president and the Washington D.C. cherry blossoms of my youth, it shall henceforth be called Virginia Sakura.]

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. ..." 
- Declaration of Independence, authored by Thomas Jefferson

Virginia Sakura
2 1/4 oz  Bourbon (Jefferson's)
1/2 oz Umeshu (plum sake - I used Choya)
1 tsp Maraschino liqueur
5 drops Bittercube cherry bark vanilla bitters
Cherry-Mint blossom garnish

Stir liquid ingredients on ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass in which the garnish is already placed.

To prepare the garnish:
  1. Take a preserved cherry (ideally a Luxardo or homemade maraschino cherry, or a homemade bourbon cherry), remove the stem, and with a paring knife cut 5 roughly equal-sized "petals" while being careful not to cut all the way through the base - it needs to hold together.
  2. Select a mint sprig with tiny just-starting leaves at the very top and second-level leaves just larger than your cherry - break off the sprig just under those second-level leaves. With your cut cherry, gently roll and poke the baby leaves through the hole at the cherry base, leaving the second-level leaves to flutter prettily in the breeze behind the cherry.
  3. If the garnish is a tad bit juicy, that's perfectly all right. A few cherry-flavored drops will round the drink out nicely.