More on Kirsch

July 14th, 2007

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.

Rose cocktail with Noilly Prat vermouth, Chambord and Kirsch bottles in background

Rose (variation)

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.

Close-up of the Charleston Cocktail


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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Posted in Chambord, Curaçao & Triple Sec, Gin, Kirsch, Maraschino, Recipes, Vermouth

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3 responses to “More on Kirsch”

  1. erik_flannestad erik_flannestad says:

    Rose does sound good! Going to have to give that a try. Thanks for the shout out.

  2. Aleks Aleks says:

    I quite like this oddly, although I do not usually like such long lists of ingridents, too many for a simple-minded tounge!

    A friend who is a barman told me of two cocktails somebody ordered with chambord. They are pretty much the same, apart from that you switch the 2 drinks around.

    The first one, is called “Anglo-French Relations” (i thought it a good idea to bring this up seing Sarkozy was in town recently!)

    It consists of:

    2 shots gin, 1 shot Chambord, 1 shot cold water, a dash or two (to saste) of agnostura, and a squeze of an orange slice. mix/stir (bruising happens slightly) and serve in martini glass.

    The other version simply requires you to switch the ammounts of gin and chambord around (1 gin, 2 chambord), and then its called a “King Louis” or “louis XIV”

    it might be in half measures though!

    I know both have terible names! but I do find them both quite good (preference to anglo-french) I tend to add an extra bit of water though.

  3. Lisa Lisa says:

    I buy Kirschwasser for one reason and one reason only – the Black Forest Cake Martini. I first drank one at a bar that was featuring Effen Black Cherry vodka, and there was a menu on the bar with various cocktails you could order using it as an ingredient. One sip of this sweet concoction and I was hooked. At first, I tried leaving out the Kirschwasser, but the drink is nothing without it, so I broke down and started stocking it at home. Before I order this drink at a bar, I always ask if they have Kirschwasser first (sometimes they say they can make one, but don’t have this key ingredient).

    Here’s my personal recipe for the Black Forest Cake Martini:

    1 oz Effen Black Cherry vodka (or any smooth vodka)
    1 oz Dark Creme de Cocoa
    1 oz Razmatazz (you can use Chambord)
    0.5 oz Kirschwasser brandy

    Shake together with ice and strain into a chilled glass.

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