Jul 4th, 2012 by Paul Stewart, Metcalf Foundation Intern
Last week I went on a great pick. The backyard had two cherry trees. One was an enormous sour cherry tree and living in its shade was a sweet yellow cherry tree. This was the first time I’d ever harvested from a yellow cherry tree, at first we thought that all the fruit was under ripe. Once we got in the tree, and started to taste some of the cherries, we realized they were ripe and delicious. The sour cherry tree had wonderful fruit but much of it was very high and on the outer most branches. So we were only able to harvest a few pounds.
When divvying up the fruit amongst the volunteers most people opted to take a portion of the more popular sweet cherries, and I was left with the sour cherries. I am not a big fan of munching on raw sour cherries, so I decided I would process them into something that I would be able to enjoy for months to come. This is a recipe that my brother and I adapted from a preserve that Jamie Kennedy Kitchens does. Typically they preserve their sour cherries in simple syrup and rum for use in their deserts. We changed this recipe so that it would include bourbon and citrus so that we could use the cherries as garnish for a manhattan cocktail.
For this recipe you will need one cup sugar, one cup water, juice of one lemon, two ounces of bourbon, and enough sour cherries to fill a 500ml mason jar. First, fill your sterilized mason jars with the raw de-stemmed sour cherries (no need to pit). Second, make your simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in water over heat. Once the sugar has dissolved add the lemon juice and bourbon and bring to a boil. Once boiling pour the hot liqour in to the jars and seal with a lid. As the jars are cooling the cap should pop down creating a seal. If it doesn’t you can put the jars in a hot water bath for ten minutes and then remove, as the jars cool they should seal.
I normally leave these cherries in the jar to absorb the flavour from the liqour for at least a couple weeks. After a couple weeks you have a delicious garnish for a classic manhattan cocktail. They are currently serving this drink at my favourite restaurant 416 Snack Bar (I am biased, my brother is the owner) where I went to get their recipe and a picture of the cocktail.
Bourbon Soaked Sour Cherry Manhattan
2 oz Makers Mark Bourbon (any bourbon will do)
1 oz Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 teaspoons Sour Cherry Syrup
3 Cherries on bar skewer
In an Old Fashioned glass fill ice and set a skewer with three cherries. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add 2 oz bourbon, 1 oz sweet vermouth, 3 dashes angostura bitters, and 2 teaspoons cherry syrup. Stir slowly until the combined ingredients are very cold, strain into glass and enjoy.