Photo: LeNell Smothers
When a friend in New York sent a picture of his fluffy, pink cherry blossoms in full bloom in his backyard, I was reminded of the beauty of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden blossoms this time of year. The Garden hosts its annual blossom festival May 1st and 2nd.
The Japanese name for cherry-blossom viewing is hanami, and I did find a cocktail named such with three parts sake and one part cherry brandy claiming it can be served over ice or warm. I think I'd rather have a Cherry Blossom.
A few variations on a Cherry Blossom exist with brandy as their common thread. Keep in mind that when a recipe lists cherry brandy, you may not know whether the author intended cherry-flavored brandy liqueur, which is very sweet, or the more expensive real cherry brandy sometimes called kirschwasser, kirsch, or cherry eau de vie, that is not sweet at all.
Read more about Cherry Blossom cocktails after the jump.
The 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book recipe for six people lists dry Curaçao, lemon juice, grenadine, cherry brandy and brandy. Gary Regan reformulated this idea in his Joy of Mixology, pointing out that it's a Sidecar with the addition of cherry liqueur.
1 oz Brandy
1 oz Cherry-flavored brandy liqueur
½ oz Triple sec
½ oz Lemon juice
Mixologist Jamie Boudreau came up with his version of a Cherry Blossom. Since lemons aren't so easy to come by in Baja and we love our whiskey, we opt for this version with subtle cherry aromas and a hint of chocolate. Jamie originally used sour griottine cherries, but anything other than a fake red maraschino will maintain the elegance of this drink.
1 1/4 oz Rye
3/4 oz Kirsch
1/4 oz Crème de cacao
Dash of Angostura bitters
2 Brandied cherries, garnish
Fill a pint glass with ice. Add the rye, kirsch, crème de cacao and bitters and stir well. Strain into a chilled coupe, and garnish with the cherries.
Alabama-born LeNell Smothers defines herself first and foremost as a bartender, but she's been called many things -- most recently, the proprietress of Casa Cóctel with partner Demián Camacho Santa Ana. She's owned her own whiskey label, called Red Hook Rye, and has been recognized by her home state as an honorary Colonel. Other interests include gin, sin and men.