Wednesday, November 21, 2007

19) Sour Cherry Rye

1.5 oz. Jim Beam Rye
.5 oz. Cherry Heering
.5 Lemon juice
2-3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds and strain into a cocktail glass.

I started cooking when I was around 12, and so often times think of cocktails in culinary terms. Such thinking had me wanting to experiment around with a wine cocktail in which I had hoped to create something reminiscent of the flavors of a baked pear. Unfortunately I steered Ed and I down a path that was ill chosen, and after a couple of attempts we decided to move on to something else lest we risk killing each other in a fit of mutual frustration.

I was still thinking in culinary imagery when I spotted a bottle of Cherry Heering, a fantastic cherry liqueur most famous as an ingredient in the Singapore Sling, and the thought of a drink with sour cherry characteristics popped into my tiny little mind. For the base spirit I wanted to avoid something I thought would be obvious, like Vodka or Gin, and began looking at the Whiskey's. The sad yellow label of Jim Beam Rye got me to wondering if I could make a little something that might make it a little bit more palatable (sorry Beam Rye lovers!). The rest pretty much fell into place.

Initially we didn't add bitters, and the first taste was somewhat odd. It took a couple of sips for me to realize what was odd about it. The flavors of the drink were coming in two distinct (almost separate) waves - The first was the Rye, which quickly faded then the sour cherry element hit. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't great, and the tongue confusion was definitely unsettling. Ed suggested a few dashes of Peychaud's to see if that helped, and it was just what the drink needed.

The result was a new sort of flavor profile for me so it's a bit hard to describe as well as I'd like. The bitters melded the flavor spikes leaving a much more complex combination of the hard edges of the Rye which mingled surprisingly well the Cherry and bite of the lemon juice. I was afraid that the lemon and cherry would be to pronounced making the drink more of a Jolly Rancher type of abomination, yet I found that the sour and cherry were spread out well amongst the Rye threading together well.

I would very much like to try this again using a better Rye as I think that would very much enhance the overall quality. Michter's seems like it would be a perfect fit. If anybody out there gives this a try with a good Rye drop us a comment or an e-mail at drinkaweek [at] gmail [dot] com and let us know how it comes out.


Courtney said...


We just tried this drink using 16 yr. Sazerac Rye... it turned out quite good! Not sure how it would compare to the Beam Rye, though. Also used meyer lemon juice, which gave it a bit more sweetness.

drinkaweek said...

Hey Courtney,

Thanks for the comment, we're glad you liked the drink! Sazerac was one of the Rye's we were looking before I took pity on the Jim Beam. I'm not sure what it says about me that I am capable of having pity for liquor, but I suspect it's not good. Love the idea of using meyer lemons to give just a hint of sweetness. We'll be trying that variation for ourslevs soon enough I imagine.