I’ve been into dark liquor lately and was intrigued when I came across this cocktail recipe in Andrea Reusing’s wonderful book Cooking in the Moment. She’s got a plethora of seasonal, farm-to-table recipes and lovely stories about life in North Carolina.
This is basically a Manhattan, composed of rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters. But Reusing replaces the typical Maraschino cherries with homemade pickled sour cherries. The deep maroon of the juice and the garnish make this drink particularly appealing.
The Homeward Angel
For Pickled Sour Cherries
makes 1 quart
1 1/4 cups rice vinegar
a few small slices of fresh ginger
15 black peppercorns
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups pitted fresh sour cherries (about 1 lb)
For the Cocktails
4 oz rye whiskey
1 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz orange bitters
2 splashes of cherry pickling liquid
4 Pickled Sour Cherries
1. Make the cherries the day before: In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegar, ginger, peppercorns, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil. Put the cherries in a large heatproof jar and pour the hot vinegar mixture over them, covering them completely. When they are cooled, cover and refrigerate. Let sit for at least a day.
2. Make the drinks: Pour the rye, vermouth, bitters and pickling liquid over ice in a cocktail mixer. Shake well to chill. Either strain into a chilled martini glass, or pour over ice. Garnish with 2 sour cherries.