I was trying to think of something fun and unexpected for a Valentine treat for my valentine this year. My husband Ryan has pretty classic tastes when in comes to cocktails, he loves a good Old Fashioned. How can you go wrong? Raw sugar, bitters, rye whiskey, orange peel and brandied cherries are a pretty harmonious potion. Last summer the boys and I picked so many cherries in the most stunning orchard in White Salmon, Washington. There were Bing cherries, Rainier cherries and best of all Montmorency pie cherries. Bright red, tiny and tart! I was able to put up a few bags in the freezer and how fortuitous because they made their way into a delicious ingredient for my husbands favorite cocktail. I absolutely love the flavor of these beauties, you can definitely taste the brandy and cherry liqueur which melds perfectly with the tart cherries, vanilla and bay leaf, without being too over sweet.
If you don’t have fresh tart cherries or frozen cherries you can make these with jarred cherries as well, I have seen Morello cherries at the store which you could easily drain and use.
I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with love notes, quality time with those you love and hopefully a libation that puts a smile on your face.
2 cups cherries
1 cup of tart cherry juice
1 cup of sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1/4 cup Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
1//4 cup brandy
1 dried bay leaf
Boil tart cherry juice, sugar and vanilla bean with seeds scraped over medium heat until reduced to about a third. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Add the cherry liqueur , brandy and bay leaf to the cherry reduction. Pour mixture over cherries. Seal and refrigerate for 2 weeks to let the flavor set.