3 words that bring music to my ears…. We are talking serious cocktails here kiddies!!
For those of you who are not familiar, Mixology Monday is a monthly online cocktail party. The process is quite simple: each month, a host, working with the moderator, selects a theme for the upcoming event; past themes have included Rum, Winter Warmers, Fizz, and Aperitifs. The event is announced on various blogs, and on or before the event date (a Monday — hence the name), participating bloggers join the party by posting a drink recipe or other post related to the theme. Each participant notifies the host that they’ve joined in, and soon after the event, the host posts a roundup, listing each participant.
This will be the Citizens first post for a Mixology Monday event but definitely not our last!
With a theme of Brown, Bitter, and Stirred, I took off to the drawing board. I have a strong affinity for Rye Whiskey in cocktails and this was the perfect chance to use the beautiful brown spirit. Now for the Bitter? There are so many avenues you can go here, and I wanted to try and express them all. Picking up a bottle of Bonal Gentiane-Quina recently, I really wanted wanted to work it into the cocktail. It had a unique complexity that played really well the the Rye Whiskey. The drink felt a little thin though. Enter my old friend, Punt e Mes. Perfect for giving the drink a little more body with a touch of sweetness. Since this is a bitter drink I went ahead and added a dash each of both Angostura Bitters and Peychauds Bitters. I was a little nervous at this point that the drink may be too bitter but it really came together nicely. It was however lacking a little dimension. I decided to work in a little smoke by way of a Laphroig 10 year glass rinse. PERFECT!! A small spritz of orange oil over the top and the drink was done…. It was brown, it was definitely bitter, and it was stirred!!!!
“I’ve Seen Bitter Days”
1.5 oz Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
.5 oz. Bonal Gentiane-Quina
.5 oz. Punt e Mes
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 Dash Peychauds Bitters
Garnish: Orange Oil
Add all ingredients except Laphroig into mixing glass. Add ice, stir for 20-30 seconds and strain into Pre-chilled, Laphroig rinsed cocktail glass. Spritz with oil from orange peel and garnish with peel.
It’s that time of year again when beautiful sweet cherries are in abundance. Unfortunately this season is relatively short. If your anything like me and are not a big fan of your typical neon maraschino cherry then you will need to find a tasty and creative way to enjoy fresh cherries all year round. Below, I have written 2 recipes for brandied cherries. One for instant gratification that can be enjoyed next day, and also one that can be used to can cherries for those cold winter months.
Making brandied cherries is not a very difficult task and definitely worth the time to add that extra bit of flavor and dimension to your favorite desserts or cocktails.
1 1/2 lbs. dark sweet cherries (pitted)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 small cinnamon stick
2 small cloves
2 green cardamom pods
4 1/2 oz. Cognac (I used Martell VS)
Add Sugar, Water, Lemon, and spices to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and add cherries. Simmer cherries for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, remove cinnamon stick, add cognac and allow to cool before placing in a jar.
For a more complex flavor you can leave the pits in the cherries, just be careful when serving them to people. You can also remove the pits but save some of them to simmer in with the cherries.
The original recipe I found also called for allspice, which I seemed to be out of at the time. Remembering a recent purchase of St. Elizabeths Allspice Dram, I went ahead and added about 1/2 oz. along with my cognac for a little extra flavor.
Now, so we can still enjoy the flavor of these sweet, tangy cherries over the winter, here is a recipe for canning.
1/2 lbs. cherries (pitted)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
4 green cardamom pods
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup of Cognac (I used Martelll VS)
1 Canning Jar w/ Lid
Add sugar, water, lemon, and spices to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes until it begins to reduce and thicken. Turn off heat and add Cherries and Cognac. (Once again I chose to add a little Allspice Dram along with my Cognac).
Transfer Cherries into canning jars and pour liquid over cherries to cover. Twist on Lid.
Process jar in boiling water for 10 minutes, allow to cool and store in cool dark place. Cherries will be ready in about 6 weeks. You can forego the hot water process and just store in refrigerator if it’s easier. Once opened keep cherries refrigerated.
NOTE: Brandying Cherries leaves a lot of room for creativity and improvisation. In the past I have substituted Rye Whiskey in place of the Brandy and it came out wonderful. I’ve also done a combination of Bourbon and Amaretto which were really nice as well. Feel free to add some of your favorite flavors by way of fresh spices or liqueurs.
Now the fun part, enjoy your cherries in your favorite cocktail. Here is a new one of mine.
1.5 oz. Del Maguey Vida
.75 oz. Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
.5 oz. Cocchi Americano
2 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
1 Brandied Cherry
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and stir for approximately 20 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with orange peel and homemade brandied cherry!!!