Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dark Days Challenge Week 6: The Wolverine Cocktail

It's the holidays, so why not have a cocktail party for your supper?    This week, I wanted to experiment with some of the cherry brandy I made with a recipe from Linda Ziedrich's Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves.   The cherries were late this year, so I didn't miss them in their entirety as I often do, since we go out of town for the 4th of July week.    I made cherry berry spoon fruit and I also made (and remade) cherry preserves with cherries I bought at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market. I don't remember exactly where they were from - most likely they came from the west side of the state, because we get a lot of vendors during fruit season from the more temperate side of Michigan, but I can remember buying sour cherries locally years from a place I drove to that had a cherry pitter, which was totally cool!  I really hate pitting cherries.

Late in July I bought more cherries from a roadside stand somewhere between Manistee and Traverse City.   My husband and I camped at Orchard Beach State Park while the kids were at their respective camps - the eldest at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp for art and the youngest at Boy Scout camp in Ohio.   We went wine tasting and canoeing and had a great time.  I'll say I got the cherries in Empire, because I remember stopping by the Grocer's Daughter to sample the fine chocolates.   Inspired by Melissa Clark in the NY Times, I made some real maraschino cherries. By the end of the season, I was really sick of pitting cherries, so the cherry brandy was a recipe that didn't require it, which appealed to me.

The recipe is pretty simple - and if you live in Michigan and want to make some right now, you can buy frozen sour cherries from Traverse City right now at Meijer.  The cherries are edible when it's done, but they aren't at their prime visually.   The maraschino cherries definitely look better.  

2 lb stemmed sour cherries
1 cup sugar
3 cups brandy (I used cherry brandy made at Black Star Farms in Traverse City)

Layer cherries and sugar in a 2 quart jar.  Cover the cherries with brandy.  Close the jar with a tight fitting cap and shake to dissolve the sugar.  Store the jar in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally.   The brandy will be ready in about 3 months. 

I developed this Michigan cocktail that I dubbed "The Wolverine" because Michigan is the Wolverine State.   I hope the Spartan fans aren't offended....I didn't name it the Wolverine because I went to the U of M Business School.  My heart lies with my beloved Michigan Tech Huskies, where I went to undergrad and graduate school to study engineering. 

Here's how I made my cocktail:

1 shot cherry flavored brandy (home made)
1 shot vodka (I used vodka from New Holland Brewery in Holland, MI - 155 miles)
1 shot apple cider (Wasems Orchard - 23 miles)

Shake with crushed ice and serve up in a martini glass.   Or, add some club soda (Faygo - Detroit MI 50 miles) and serve on the rocks in a highball.


Tulip said...

mmmm, sounds yummy!

Linda Ziedrich said...

Cynthia, you're lucky to live in an area where you can buy sour cherries. Let's keep writing about them so farmers and gardeners will plant them wherever they'll grow.
I will have to try your Wolverine cocktail!