What cherries do bartenders use?
The only limit to what a cocktail garnish can be, really, is your imagination. A garnish can be as simple as a strip of citrus zest, as gaudy as an entire piece of bacon, or as versatile as the appropriately named cocktail cherry—capable of finishing a stiff manhattan or a drink with a dozen ingredients equally well.
The cherries I remember from my youth were neon pink, slightly translucent sugar bombs with a texture that, confusingly, seemed both waxy and mushy. When I became old enough to drink (I promise I never drank before that, Mom), I dropped those neon sugar blobs into my amateur cocktails—and they brought little more than an overpowering sweetness and a hint of pink iridescence.
A few years later I started ordering drinks at bars that took more care with their cocktails. It was at one of these that I had my first real cocktail cherry. Its color was a deep, dark red—almost black—and it had a chew that could only come from real fruit.
- Most importantly, it actually tasted like a cherry and complemented instead of overpowered the cocktail I ordered.
- My takeaway from this experience: Whatever I’m drinking, the cocktail cherry I use should be as balanced as the cocktail it sits in.
- I rounded up a dozen leading brands of craft cocktail cherries, including some presoaked in different spirits like rum, bourbon, and amaro.
And I tasted them to find the best one. For the test I did a blind tasting of the cherries straight with some friends. I didn’t add them to cocktails because I didn’t want to cloud the pure flavor. After we’d tasted everything we talked about what we liked, what we didn’t, possible applications, and came to a unanimous decision about four cherries.
Best cocktail cherry overall: Luxardo Maraschino Cherries The classic, the original, the ubiquitous choice for thoughtful bartenders everywhere, Luxardo is difficult to beat. The cherry flavor is rich and it offers the right balance of sweet and tart. These Italian cherries have an almost meaty texture that’s really pleasant to eat at the end of a cocktail.
That we all knew they were Luxardo cherries even in a blind taste test was pretty telling—we’ve all come to accept them as the standard cocktail cherry, having had them so many times out at bars, and keeping them stocked in our home bars. We tried to not let that paint a bias on our testing, but when we tasted them against the other brands, they just stayed at the top.
Luxardo Maraschino Cherries Runner-up cherry: Filthy Black Amarena Cherries These are wild Italian cherries, and we all agreed that we liked them as much as we liked the Luxardo cherries but for different reasons. The texture was on par with Luxardo, but the cherry flavor was different—a bit more intense and tart.
While the Luxardo cherries are more balanced, making them versatile and good to use in just about any cocktail that calls for a cherry, we agreed that the added tartness here might be nice to counterbalance sweeter cocktails, like old- fashioneds, We also agreed that these would be better used on ice cream (particularly vanilla) than Luxardo cherries because the tartness would complement the sweet creaminess so well.
These are certainly worth stocking in your home bar. Filthy Black Amarena Cherries Best bourbon cherry: Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries We tried three different bourbon-soaked cherries and Woodford Reserve easily took the crown. The texture was a bit softer than a Luxardo cherry but still carried that nice bit of chew we all wanted from a cocktail cherry.
These were nice and complex—the cherry and bourbon complemented each other beautifully. Not too sweet, not overly tart, Woodford Reserve’s cherries were balanced but also had more complexity than any of us expected. We found the other bourbon-soaked cherries to be too boozy—possibly in part because of the lesser quality of the bourbon used to soak them—they even had that alcoholic bite, like when a drink is just too strong.
- The Woodford Reserve cherries had delicate vanilla notes that fully penetrated each cherry, that made us all want to reach for more, like a grown-up candy.
- We all agreed that while we would try to use them in cocktails more, we’d all likely snack on these more regularly than we cared to admit.
- Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries Best cocktail cherry for tiki drinks: Tillen Farms Rum Bada Bing Cherries Tillen Farms makes a bourbon cherry that we didn’t love, and when we realized that these were also Tillen Farms, we were pleasantly surprised.
The bourbon cherries had that boozy bite that we didn’t really care for, but the rum cherries were smooth, like a well-mixed cocktail. Zero alcoholic bite, but a splash of floral vanilla flavor and hints of tropical fruit gave these cherries the most interesting flavor profile out of the whole batch.
Is moonshine considered alcohol?
Moonshine: From Woods To Whiskey Throughout its storied past, moonshine has been called many things: shine, white lightning, hooch, fire water, white dog, or bathtub gin. Without regulation, there was no standardization to the methods or monikers of “moonshine”.
- Currently, to be called “moonshine”, there are some loose qualifications the spirit must meet.
- Ultimately, moonshine is grain alcohol at its purest form.
- Moonshine was originally made in secret during the prohibition era and, to contemporary purists, it’s not considered “moonshine” unless it’s clandestine.
However, most distilleries now legally produce moonshine, regardless of whether they bottle and sell a product labeled as “moonshine.” Whiskey, prior to aging, is moonshine! So, What is Moonshine? Moonshine is defined as a homemade, un-aged whiskey, marked by its clear color, corn base, and high alcohol content (sometimes peaking as high as 190 proof).
- Traditionally, it was produced in a homemade still and bottled in a mason jar.
- For most of its history, moonshine was distilled in secret to avoid taxes and alcohol bans (specifically during the Prohibition Era).
- The term “moonshiner” was popularized in the 18 th century, where individuals deep in the woods of the Appalachia attempting to avoid being caught by police distilled under the light of the moon.
How it’s Made Moonshine consists of:
Corn Barley Wheat or Rye (optional) Yeast Water
While distillate or moonshine can be made from pretty much any type of grain, it originally was made from barley or rye. Moonshine at its purest form, is whiskey, or bourbon distillate. It is un-aged, high in proof, and clear in color. During the Prohibition Era, if grains were unavailable or too expensive, moonshiners would use white sugar which still gave them that alcohol “kick” they were looking for, but with a sweeter taste to it.
- Making moonshine has two main steps: fermentation and distillation.
- Fermentation is the process of yeast breaking down the sugars in the grains to produce alcohol.
- Once the fermentation process is complete, the “moonshine mash” (fermented grains and yeast) is sent to the still.
- As the temperature rises in the still, the steam is forced through the top of the still into the worm box.
The worm box is typically a barrel with cold water flowing through it and a metal coil pipe down the center. Alcohol vapors flow through the coil pipe where they cool and condense back into a liquid. The last part of distillation is the spout or valve that leads from the worm box to a bucket or steel drum.
- Typically this would be sent through at least one filter, but potentially more.
- The “XXX” label, that has been popularized in moonshine imagery, was originally an indication of quality; each “X” represented a time that it had been distilled.
- Moonshine Today Moonshine has changed quite a bit since the backyard bottlers of Prohibition.
In 1933, U.S. alcohol production became legal, as long as you paid the appropriate taxes and had the correct permits. While this makes moonshine legal, you are still prohibited from distilling some at home. Why is this? Mainly for safety reasons. Distilling is a very precise chemical process that, when done incorrectly, can create a dangerous environment or produce a toxic libation.
Governmental regulations are not just for tax purposes, but to protect the consumer from drinking something that could cause serious health issues. “Unlike other spirits, legally produced moonshine can be made with any source material, at any proof, can have coloring and flavoring added – the works. There are no rules for its classification,” said Colin Blake, director of spirits education,
With such a loose classification of this grain alcohol, many different flavored products can still be considered moonshine! At Jeptha Creed, we offer a high-proof original moonshine highlighting the traditional flavor profile, but made with modern distillation processes.
All of our moonshines start with the same four grains as our flagship bourbon, featuring our heirloom Bloody Butcher Corn. If you’re less interested in this pure un-aged whiskey flavor, we have expanded into the modern spectrum of moonshine with a naturally-flavored lineup. Delicious moonshine flavors like apple pie, blackberry, cinnamon, and lemonade represent our ode to the history with a focus on the future.
Moonshine cherries review
Our moonshine is even sold in mason jars as a “hats off” to the non-regulated history it came from. Our line of moonshines are a far cry from the potentially deadly spirits that used to flow from homemade stills. Representing its full integration into the contemporary alcohol industry, moonshine now even has its own holiday! National Moonshine Day is on the first Thursday in June (June 2 nd of 2022).
What cherries have alcohol?
Are cocktail cherries and maraschino cherries the same thing? – Sort of. A cocktail cherry is any cherry that’s been preserved and is meant to be used as a cocktail garnish. Originally, maraschino referred to a specific type of cocktail cherry, made from Italian marasca cherries preserved in cherry brandy and liqueur.
What’s in moonshine cherries?
With a nod to Appalachian creativity, Ole Smoky took maraschino cherries and gave them a good, long soak in their 100 proof original moonshine. This delicious marriage culminated in an explosion of sweet heat in every perfectly infused cherry. And, once the cherries are gone, the remaining moonshine offers a lingering sweet nectar that blends into cherry cola or ginger ale like long lost lovers.