It’s Mixology Monday time again. This month’s theme comes from Andrea from Gin Hound. It’s cherries! A favorite around here :) Both of the drinks this month are favorites that we’ve been holding in our back pockets for just the right occasion. And thanks to Andrea we have one!
This recipe was created by Shaun, as the evolution of a Cuzco Fizz.
It was a warm day, a Cuzco Fizz seemed like an appropriate drink to try, he had both pisco and St. Germain in the house, but alas! no grapes. It was, however, the start of cherry season, and he did have some nice sweet cherries sitting temptingly on the kitchen counter. So those got conscripted to replace the grapes, and the resulting drink came out pretty well. Different, certainly, but not bad. Shaun thought there were improvements to be made though, as the pisco and cherries weren’t quite perfect together. He continued to noodle around with the recipe over the next week or so, transforming it quite a bit in the process. The pisco became bourbon, and mint got invited to the party.
When next Christa was over, we tried the updated version, and conversation turned to the naming of this new elixer. Shaun was thinking the bourbon made the drink somewhat southern in character. The mention of the south and the multiplicity of cherries in the drink then made Julia reminisce humorously about how the girls at her southern college shared that same trait: it didn’t count because “It was only once”, “I didn’t enjoy it that time”, “It was just my cousin”, etc. (As an aside, you didn’t think we were going to pass on the whole cherries=virgin gag, did you? ‘Cause we’re *so* not above that!) So Christa put two and two together and piped up with, “Oh, then it must be a southern virgin!”. And so here it is:
- 5 cherries pitted and halved
- 6 mint leaves
- 1 1/2 oz bourbon (we used the Four Roses single barrel. like with a Julep, choose a good strong bourbon)
- 1 oz St. Germain
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 1 1/2 oz club soda
Muddle cherries and mint in the bottom of a double old fashioned glass. Shake bourbon, St. Germain and lime juice with ice. Strain into glass. Top with club soda. Add a couple ice cubes.
- Nose: Mint, bourbon, cherry
- Palate: Opens with cherry, St. Germain, and a touch of mint. More mint plus bourbon on the mid-palate, with lots of the red fruit from the bourbon drawn to the fore. Nice hit of lime and mint on the finish. Bright cherry taste at the front that lasts through the drink. Flavors are well integrated, although different elements will pop here and there, and it is truly more than the sum of its parts.
The Southern Virgin is one of our favorite coolers during cherry season. We drink them in quantity. They go down easily and are quite tasty in our opinion.
The Peruvian Disco came about because we go through a lot of Maraschino cherries (we buy them in 6+ pound tins) and we end up with a fair bit of syrup left over. So we decided to see if we could make a drink using the syrup as a sweetener. As it turns out we could. We used pisco for it’s wine-y characteristics, which the cherry syrup blends nicely with, added some orange for some additional sweetness and some nice bitterness from the peel, and then a touch of bitters for a little more complexity.
- 2 oz pisco (we used the Pisco Parton)
- 1 1/4 oz orange juice
- 1/2 lemon juice
- 1/3 oz Maraschino cherry syrup (this is the syrup that Luxardo Maraschino cherries come in. For this particular iteration, we used the syrup from our own brandied cherries that had been pickled in Pierre Ferrand cognac. Look for a future post on that. )
- 1-2 dashes orange bitters
Shake ingredients with ice. Pour into glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.
- Nose: Pisco, orange juice and peel, slightly oxidized fruity smell like raisins. As it warms up, pie spice notes like nutmeg start showing up.
- Palate: Sweet creamy orange (almost like a creamsicle) to start, then winey, slightly funky pisco in the middle with a little bit of cherry. Dry, slightly astringent finish with notes of bitter orange. Pie spice notes as it starts warming up.
Thank you Andrea for a great theme this month. Cherries are tasty, and very versatile when it comes to cocktails. Certainly worth some experimentation next time you bring some home from the store.