Cherry Bomb: The Newest Cherry Spirits and Cocktails
Sure, sugary, flavored vodkas have been all the rage in spirits this year — consider the toothache-promoting, shame-inducing best-sellers like cotton candy and whipped cream — but liquor producers across the spirits spectrum seem to be turning away from the sickeningly sweet and focusing on fresh, tart-sweet cherry flavors instead. On top of cherry vodka, there’s new cherry rum, cognac-based cherry liqueur, and even bourbon-based cherry releases to explore. Some mixologists are even turning back to the colonial-era cherry bounce, a cherry cordial concoction dating to the days of Martha Washington.
Bartenders across the country are picking up on the cherry trend, too. Because sourcing cherries out of season is extremely costly, says mixologist Chris Hopkins, mixologist of Vesper Bar in Las Vegas’ The Cosmopolitan, it’s best to use them in season. "From a mixology standpoint, cherries are best used when they are in season, due to their bright, bold flavors," Hopkins says. And the demand for cherries has made the market even stronger. "I think this limited cycle of use gave rise to the recent additions to the cherry market in terms of liquor availability," Hopkins says. "Grey Goose Cherry Noir, Absoult Cherrycran, and Leopold’s Tart Cherry liqueur are some recent examples of demand for cherries leading to new product development," says Hopkins.
And while everybody loves fresh-picked cherries in summer, the cherry liqueur concept can also evoke memories of hard-to-swallow cherry-flavored cough medicine. Since nailing the not-too-sweet flavor profile of natural cherries is a challenge, we’ve cherry-picked the top cherry-flavored spirits you should know about, plus sourced refreshing cocktail recipes that make the most of this fruit-forward trend.