Local cherry season has just begun and crates of sour cherries are ripe for the taking at farmers markets throughout the borough. These puckeringly sour stone fruit can be muddled for a bright and tart note in a cocktail instead of citrus, as well as a reddish tint. Ordinarily, cherries require an aggravating pitting process if you're baking with them or making jam (pick up a cherry pitter at The Brooklyn Kitchen to ease that process), but when crushed into a drink, the pits are easy to avoid. Another tip: pick up a strong cocktail mixer from Red Jacket Orchards' Greenmarket stand, called “Sour Cherry Stomp.” This is 100% pure sour cherry juice, fresh and unpasteurized (and pitted as well).
At Williamsburg's Hotel Delmano, bar manager Sam Anderson created a cocktail with brandied sour cherries. He lets the cherries soak in Laird's Applejack brandy, and has shared his recipe for the drink below. He calls it “Heart in a Sling,” a variation on a Singapore Sling, and Sam says it can be ordered off of the bar's regular cocktail menu by request. Thanks to him, you can also make it at home for a blast of summery brightness that goes straight to the head.
Hotel Delmano's “Heart In A Sling” Cocktail
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
3/4 oz Orchard Cherry Liqueur
1/2 oz Benedictine
1 oz El Peloton del Muerte Mezcal
3 Brandied Sour Cherries
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add 6-8 solid cubes of ice. Shake all ingredients and serve in a tall glass with shaved ice. Garnish with a cherry.