Coming up with a new cocktail every week is a fun challenge but, after over 125 instalments of this column, it has gotten more a bit more challenging. Sometimes I ask my brilliant bartender friends for direction, but sometimes I simply stare at the various bottles on my bar cart, willing a new recipe to take shape. (The latter strategy is what I employed today.)
This morning, as I strained my neck to see the bar cart from my couch, I saw a bottle of sour cherry liqueur (which I had forgotten I had) nestled next to a bottle of Old Tom gin. “Hehe. It’s Tom and Cherry!” I mumbled to myself, before becoming absolutely hellbent on creating a cocktail around a pun.
Though the cherry liqueur is a liqueur, it’s a fairly tart one. I first tried to pair it with lemon, assuming it would need some acid, and the results were pretty gross. But once I swapped the lemon for a little honey syrup, the heavens parted and the Tom & Cherry was born. It tastes like slightly herbaceous alcoholic cherry juice, and it is delicious. To make it, you will need:
60mL Old Tom gin
30mL cherry liqueur
1 teaspoon honey syrup (3:1 honey and hot water by volume)
Add everything to a shaker with ice and shake until very cold. Strain into a coupe glass. If you desire a garnish (or two) try a strip of lemon zest artfully skewered around a Luxardo cherry.