Klaus is having a burst of late summer inspiration. The part of Germany that Klaus hails is filled with distillers of fruit and herbal liqueurs. Some of these liqueurs pack quite a kick, some of the others are less potent. But whatever type of liqueurs are available, Klaus is usually first in line to sample them.
Klaus and I just took a stroll through the garden. The mint is in a second flush, the leaves are dark green and vibrant in flavor. I showed Klaus how to slap mint and I think he saw the value in releasing the oils into the side of the cocktail glass before the drink actually goes into it.
Essentially, slapped mint is just that. You take a piece of well-washed mint and put it in one of your hands. The other free hand slaps the mint like you’re clapping your hands! Problem solved!
Klaus came to the supermarket with me a couple weeks ago. In the fruit isle at Whole Foods we found the most gorgeous Washington State Cherries. Lush, packed with dark juices and ripe, these cherries were not grown for mere eating or making tarts- they were grown for cocktail cherries! My cocktail cherry recipe is quite simple. Pit out 1-2 pounds of well-washed, de-stemmed cherries. Dry them carefully. Using a long nosed cherry pitter (available at Williams-Sonoma) pit out all the tender fruits into a bowl. Find a nice bottle of spiced rum. I used Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Rum because of the baking spice character that this rum lends to the cherries. It’s important to refrigerate the cherries as quickly as possible, well covered. If you want, you can process the cherries as if you are canning. Just make sure the glass canning containers are sterilized in boiling hot water for at least 5 minutes before adding the cherries and processing. After two or so weeks in the fridge or up to six months in the jar, you have better cocktail cherries than you can buy. Throw out those maraschino cherries dyed fake red at the supermarket. This is a cherry that bites you back! I invented the Botanologia Cocktail with the thought that every great herbal elixir needs something to balance out the heat of the alcohol. I’m not sure why the European herbal liqueurs pack so much punch, but one thing is for certain, Klaus finds them extremely enticing on a late summer day.
The Botanologia Cocktail
Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth: Italy
Herbsaint: United States (Down South)
Chartreuse Liqueur Fabriquée VEP: France (rumored to have 130 Alpine herbs in the mix including my favorite-tarragon)
Sumptuous Syrups of Vermont Black Currant Syrup or Black Currant Syrup from Germany or Austria (Both countries are known for fabulous, concentrated fruit syrups)
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
Bitter End Thai Bitters
Fresh mint garnish
Home made Cocktail Cherries in Spiced Rum
To a Boston Shaker (stainless steel mixing vessel)
Add ¼ with ice
Add 2oz. Herbsaint
Add 1 oz. Carpano Antica
Add .5 oz. Chartreuse VEP
Add 2 Tablespoons of the Sumptuous Syrups Black Currant Syrup or like Black Currant syrup
Close top with a glass and shake really well until frosty
Pour into a tall glass with fresh ice
Finish with Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (Essential, Klaus loves the pin-point bubble of this water)
Drop 3 drops of the Bitter End Thai Bitters over the top
Garnish with fresh mint and two plump, ripe cocktail cherries
Raise your glass!!