Let’s take things back a little old school. Sip slow and enjoy this smokey mature classic cocktail, infused with savory new flavors. The Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned is a gentlemen’s cocktail, in a woman’s world.
There’s something about the classics. They make you sit in nostalgia; Pulp scenes, smokey bars, and a light number from a three-part jazz band glaze the shadowy corners of your memory. Holding the chilled glass forces you to slow down, as an Old Fashioned is meant to be sipped slow, over hushed conversations. Not a cocktail churned out to be pounded for a quick buzz, it’s meant for lingering over words and moments as the stars dance forgotten somewhere high above.
Hunting out true craft cocktail joints has become a pastime in my travels, looking for a place to step out of my skin and observe the nuance of an intimate moment in our day. A standard comes to mind for a successful speakeasy; Close private areas, dim lights, deep reds, golds, and a smooth mix of old designed to transport us away from our modern rush and force us to pause are present as I reminisce over the tucked away places. The experienced barkeeps with their signature dapper dress, tapdance behind their countertop laboratory, mixing a harmonious blend of new and old flavors with heavy alcohols. The bar, the only place teaming with a buzz of life in an otherwise subdued environment as the air fills with the muffled conversations that can only take place in clandestine nooks. The cocktails limited and crafted to perfection, not meant for those wanting to fill their head with a sugary buzz, but rather, those who enjoy a sophisticated blend intended to highlight the nuance of the liquors.
My recent run of cocktails has had a masculine edge, calling on my girl carnivore roots of smoke and flame, to elevate what could be considered a delicate libation. The watermelon margarita bit back with the serrano-infused tequila. The grilled peaches sweetened the bourbon and mellowed the zing from the fresh ginger. And for my third creation in this run, I was inspired by a smoked cocktail I had in a bar in South Dakota, where the bar-tender smoked the inside of the glass by torching a cedar plank, then capturing the smoke with a liquid dripped class for a smooth finish to the already timeless cocktail.
Inspired, I decided to take it one step further, smoking a fresh pound of ripe cherries. Wanting to capture the sexy appeal of the fruit and whiskey in a moody cocktail made for late nights. The natural warmth of the whiskey in your belly pairs seamlessly with the subtle hint of smoke only softened by the sweetness of the seasonal cherries. The Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned worked to subdue my need for a hidden late night cocktail bar, filling my imagination with the casual noir experience in my own surroundings as I sank into my leather reading chair for the night.
Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail
- 1 lbs fresh Cherries
- Alder wood chips
- 1 teas Smoked Cherry Simple Syrup
- Splash Anastoga Bitters
- 2 oz parts Campfire Whiskey
For the Smoked Cherry Simple Syrup:
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/2 cup Water
- Smoked Cherries
Smoke the cherries in a wood smoker with Alder wood chips for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until dark and soft. Remove carefully and allow to cool before proceeding.
Make the smoked cherry simple syrup by dissolving the sugar in the water in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add 1/2 cup of the smoked cherries to the syrup and allow to sit overnight in an airtight container. Strain and discard the cherries.
To Make the Smoked Cherry Old Fashioned Cocktail:
Add a spoonful of smoked cherries to the bottom of the glass, muddle. Add ice, smoked cherry simple syrup, bitters and whiskey. Serve with an orange peel or smoked cherry for garnish.