The Great Cocktail Cherry Battle
The hot days of summer bring the delights of holiday reading, holiday eating and of course, holiday drinking. But it also brings the chin-dripping joy of stone-fruit. One stone-fruit in particular has made an indelible mark on the world of cocktail culture: the cherry. We’re not sure why that particular fruit has done so well in the lore of cocktails… but its mark is as permanent as a stone stain on a white summer frock. We’re not talking about those lurid monstrosities of ‘cocktail cherries’ – they’ve achieved that look by being bleached, and unlike your stained white frock, bleach has no place in your diet.
We’re talking about boozy cherries – cherries that have been preserved using alcohol. Alcohol as well as being delicious and fun to drink is also an excellent preservative. But what alcohol do you reach for? And what recipes do we recommend to you? Well three of our most brilliant cocktail minds have come up with a recipe for you to dribble over. There is no wrong answer here folks, only three differently delicious solutions.
The important thing to remember is to make sure your jars are sterilised (give them a swift boil) and that the cherries are completely covered in the liquid to ensure no oxidisation. As a result, your cherries will impart their flavour to the liquor and also find themselves a much longer life. The leftover juice can be either served as a cocktail ingredient or poured over a dessert or ice cream. So many cherry options! Just watch out for your outfit.
Rachelle Hair, Drinks Creative Manager:
This makes approx. 5 x 200g jars.
- 500g pitted cherries
- 250g granulated sugar
- 250ml water
- 60ml Marionette Curacao
- 60ml lime juice
- 30ml vanilla extract
- 10ml almond extract
Over a medium flame, combine all ingredients except cherries and alcohol. Stir until consistent and allow to simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and add in cherries for about 3 minutes. Remove them from heat and add in the Archie Rose Rye Malt Whisky and Marionette Curacao. Add the cherries into jars and cover with excess syrup. Tightly fasten your jars (mason jars with a rubber seal are ideal for this). Allow cherries to cure for 2 weeks.
Phil Gandevia: Brand Ambassador, NT/QLD
- 250ml of Italian style sweet vermouth (there are some excellent local options here too – but ideally something of the same quality as your base spirit)
- 50g sugar (to act more as a preserving mechanism)
- Aromatics of your choice (cinnamon quills, star anise, bay leaves, juniper berries)
- Pitted cherries to bottle
Combine 450ml of the spirit of your choice with 250ml vermouth and rebottle. This will be the basis of your bottled cocktail – to make take 70ml, stir over ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the cherries, below.
For the garnish: Take remaining liquid ingredients and heat slightly to dissolve the sugar, but not too much as to evaporate the alcohol. Pour over cherries and aromatics which should be densely packed in a glass jar. Store in a cool dark place, ideal after a week or two.
Nick Baxter, Brand Advocacy Manager
This makes a small jar, about 750ml (I like Kilner jars).
- 125ml of sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
- Pinch or two grated nutmeg
- 8 turns of black pepper
- 125ml Amer Picon
- 125ml Luxardo Maraschino
- 20 dashes of Angostura bitters
- 20 dashes of Fee Bros orange bitters
- The peel (no pith) of a large orange
- 9 cloves
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 100ml vanilla gomme
- Pitted cherries to bottle
Combine all ingredients and pour over a couple of small jars of cherries. Wait a few weeks and enjoy!