Almost two months ago now I experimented with several cocktail recipes using Kirsch, a cherry flavoured eau de vie. The two drinks I tried, the Acacia and the Eider Duck, weren’t bad cocktails but they weren’t exactly special either, and I haven’t returned to either again. However, since then I have come across several other recipes that call for the use of Kirsch, so once again I am on the hunt of a great Kirsch-based cocktail.
- 2 shots dry vermouth
- 1 shot Kirsch
- 1 tsp Chambord
- Stir well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass.
The Rose was recommended to me by Paul in the comments section of my last Kirsch post. Somewhat unusually its primary ingredient is vermouth, an ingredient which normally works as a support act rather than the headliner. It is a prime example of why stirring all-alcohol cocktails is such a good idea, which in this case produces an elegant clear drink with a beautiful pinky-red hue to it (like the Cosmo, this looks less red in real life).
The cherry flavour from the Kirsch is very prominent in the Rose, but the vermouth combines wonderfully with it to take away all the burn that the Kirsch normally has. It also provides a nice floral undertone to the drink, and the small amount of Chambord adds a hint of sweetness which helps perk up the drink, as well as providing the lovely colour of the drink.
- ½ shot gin
- ½ shot Kirsch
- ½ shot Maraschino
- ½ shot Cointreau
- ½ shot sweet vermouth
- ½ shot dry vermouth
- Stir well with ice and fine strain in to a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
This second cocktail comes from Erik at Underhill Lounge (check out the link for an excellent video of how to make the cocktail), who in turn took it from The Savoy Cocktail Book. It has quite a mix of different flavours, including two cherry-based liqueurs (Kirsch and Maraschino), so I was curious to discover how they would taste when all combined.
After the relative dryness of the Rose the first thing that struck me about the Charleston was the sweetness. It’s not overwhelming though, and there were nice hints of orange and cherry, with gin in the background. My unsophisticated taste buds couldn’t really detect anything of the vermouths, although I’m sure their flavour was having an effect somewhere. The Charleston has a complex taste, unsurprising given the ingredient list, and while it’s not a great cocktail, it is enjoyable, and grew on me the more I drank.
Overall a far more successful duo of drinks this time around. I’ve yet to totally make my mind up with the Charleston – it’s no doubt tasty but the sweetness is a bit much, at least at first. I will be trying it again though. The Rose, however, is definitely what I was looking for. A tasty drink that makes great use of its ingredients whilst smoothing off the rough edges – exactly what good cocktails are all about. I think I may just have found the great Kirsch cocktail I was after, thanks for recommending it Paul!
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