Sabrina brought in all-natural VaVa sour cherries in syrup (sour cherries, sugar, water) in an attempt to break us of one of our guilty pleasures – maraschino cherries. Yes, maraschino cherries are awful. Yes, they are bleached and artificially flavored and colored. But they are de rigueur for Manhattan cocktails.
When Eric Felten’s WSJ cocktail column this past weekend featured a “Caruso Cocktail” including directions that the drink be “served with a smile and 1 cherry,” we saw the perfect opportunity to try the VaVa sour cherries in place of our normal neon ones. While we sipped, we researched sour cherries and found they are rich with anthocyanin, an antioxidant that can help with inflammatory ailments like gout and arthritis. So the tasty treat at the bottom of our glass is also healthy. We’re converts now, at least until sour cherries are in season this summer and we try to brandy our own. Oh, and the Caruso Cocktail was delightful as well – if you like Manhattans, this is a nice twist on that type of drink.
Our conversion also has two side benefits. First, the syrup from the sour cherries makes a great refreshing summer drink when you add soda water. We’d never do that with the leftover maraschino syrup. Second, we’ve now got an opening for a new guilty pleasure. Suggestions?
The Caruso Cocktail
1½ oz cognac
½ oz sweet (red) vermouth
¼ oz Bénédictine
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Stir, stir, stir with ice and strain into a stemmed cocktail glass. Add cherry and serve.