I had a really difficult time naming this drink, because it was an accident – a strange, tasty accident.
I frequently buy random ingredients I think might be intriguing in a cocktail, throw them together with things that make a wee bit of sense, and hope for the best.
What I did not anticipate when adding tart cherry juice to gin and a couple various types of orange things was creating a drink much like a negroni but not quite so bitter (also not quite so complex in flavor – but still delicious).
I bought tart cherry juice because 1. I like cherries and 2. I like tart things. It turns out tart cherry juice is slightly strange in that it’s almost…spicy. It has a cinnamon quality I was not expecting. But when I tasted it, I thought, “Aha! Bourbon!”
It turns out reducing tart cherry juice and adding it to bourbon just creates some cherry-flavored bourbon, which isn’t bad, but isn’t super-interesting. So next I tried adding it unreduced to gin – because everything I try with gin usually seems to work.
And so it did! In fact, I created something that reminded me of the negroni – bitter, but fruitier. The orange from the juice and liqueur really shone through and brightened it up, and bitters and tart cherry juice gave it that “negroni” feel.
It’s also quite pretty.
- 1.5 oz. gin
- ¾ oz. tart cherry juice (unsweetened)
- ½ oz. orange liqueur
- ¼ oz. orange juice
- 2 dashes orange bitters (I like Fee Bros.)
- orange twist
- Chill a martini glass.
- Put the juices, liqueur, gin, and bitters into a mixing glass and fill with ice. Shake.
- Strain into the glass, garnish with a twist.