A few things came together recently to provide us with this week’s cocktail, the Cherry Fling. Firstly, our friend Roger came over for dinner and happened to see a bottle of genever on the bar and was curious. Secondly, cherries are in season (yes!). One thing leads to another and we get the Cherry Fling Cocktail.
As for the cherries, ours are green and on the tree, but the farmers market had some beautiful early-season Bing cherries. The cherries were a deep, dark red and very sweet but with some tart notes. The cherries will end up in pies and ice cream soon, but we wanted something now, so we went right for a cocktail. We did some research and found a few good cocktail recipes using fresh cherries, like the Ruby Tuesday (good drink, btw), that include whiskey as the base spirit. In fact, most fresh cherry cocktails have bourbon or rye as the base spirit and add lemon juice. But Carolyn didn’t want a “brown drink” and I was thinking limes rather than lemons with the cherries (I love cherry limeade, yum). Limes, however, don’t usually go with rye or bourbon. Luckily, this led us right to the genever.
So how did we come up with a cherry and genever cocktail? As we mentioned, our friend Roger came over for dinner the other night. We made Roger a genever Old Fashioned that was very tasty and reminded us that quality genever can easily replace rye or bourbon in many cocktails. For those of you unfamiliar with genever (also known as Hollands gin or jenever), it is an early form of gin made in the pot-style stills most often associated with making whiskey. Like dry gin, genever has juniper and botanical flavors, but also features malty notes and a heavier mouthfeel. Good stuff. We like Genevieve from Anchor Distilling but Bols also makes a well-regarded genever. Genever is often taken straight or on the rocks, but mixologists also use genever as a slightly lighter, more herbal substitute in “brown” drinks, or to add more body and depth to cocktails that use dry gin.
And this brings us to the Cherry Fling. There is an old-time cocktail called the Cherry Sling that combines cherry brandy, lemon juice and sugar. We adapted the recipe to include muddled cherries, genever, lime juice and demerara sugar syrup. And the Cherry Fling is a very tasty seasonal cocktail. The cherries and lime juice lead with sweet and tart flavors and a touch of acidity, the genever adds herbal and malty notes and the demerara syrup adds sugary, funky undertones. You can also make this drink with dry gin, but we would use regular simple syrup and perhaps a bit less lime juice to balance with the drier, crisper flavors of the gin- a dash of bitters might be nice as well. And did I mention the Cherry Fling is drop-dead gorgeous? Assuming you like the color red, the Cherry Fling is a bright, beautiful drink. It seems to scream out that summer is on its way.
Oddly, our friend Roger inspired this drink, but has yet to taste one. We hope he makes one for his awesome wife this weekend. And, if not, we will have one waiting for the both of them…
The Cherry Fling Cocktail:
Notes Before You Start:
- You can use any sweet cherry variety for this cocktail. Sour cherries may not work without a lot of additional sweetening.
- If you do not have a muddler the end of a wooden spoon is a good substitute.
- 4 large (6 medium) sweet cherries, pitted and stems removed
- 2 oz genever-style gin
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- .25 oz demerara sugar syrup (or simple syrup)
- Muddle the cherries in a cocktail shaker. Add the other ingredients and ice. Shake and then fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass, flute or coupe.
- OR- strain into a highball glass with ice for a longer drink.