Fresh, seasonal fruits and summer simply go hand-in-hand. Some fruits we take for granted all year long and many we can find out of season most of the year but then there are those special fruits, of course the ones we crave the most, that have a limited run. For me the most special of all are cherries. They are a summer only fruit. Period. Sure, they can be found in the frozen food section during other seasons but frozen i a cocktail the Cherry Old Fashioned Smash they are worth eves not the same. And they aren’t an easy fruit to love. Although I’ve heard of recipes where they are usedused he without being pitted first that’s not for me. So pit them I must and maybe that’s another reason they are so special…they are not easy! Still, for a cocktail like this Cherry Old Fashioned Smash, the effort is worthy.
Still, no matter the hassle I am constantly looking for something new to make with them. This Black Forest Ice Cream Sundae I made last week with roasted cherries and chocolate was one of the best ever. Cherry pies need no introduction from me and of course I do love hoarding some homemade maraschino cherries for my cocktail making. So summer without a cherry drink would just be wrong, right? In the past I’ve loved these Cherry Mint Margaritas and this White Peach and Bing Cherry Sangria but yesterday I was in the mood for bourbon. Probably because I was dying to make something using this bottle of Angels Envy. Before I even opened it I have to say it was one of the most beautiful bottles I’ve ever seen. A slim bottle from front to back but it was those wings that took my breath away.
Angel’s Envy starts with grain and water drawn from local farms which means it is infused with the mineral richness of Kentucky limestone. After distillation, the whiskey goes into charred American oak barrels for aging; standard practice for most bourbons. Barrels are then stored in the upper racks of the warehouse, always the hottest part of the building. Hence why the bourbon is called “Angel’s Envy.” Aging bourbon in the hottest part of the warehouse increases the rate of evaporation resulting in the “angel’s share.” Nice twist on a common industry term makes for a lovely name.
Not unlike most premium aged bourbons, primary aging lasts for a minimum of four years, with five to seven years often reported as typical. When deemed ready, the bourbon is then transferred to Port barrels for a finishing of three to six months. Certainly a unique method but one I found interesting and appealing and I’m not alone as it has seen it’s share of great reviews in the press. GAYOT named it a top spirit for 2011, Wine Enthusiast gave it a score of 98, and Maxim labeled it the Best Newcomer for its “8 Best Bourbons in America”. The nose is sweet and includes a hint of cherry; how could it be more perfect for this summer cocktail using fresh cherries?
In the past I’ve made the perfect Old Fashioned and last summer created this Blackberry Smash. Both are great but there are similarities so why not combine the two? We’ve got the muddled fruit and sparkling soda of the smash with the orange bitters of the Old Fashioned and together? The Cherry Old Fashioned Smash; a cocktail with a shelf life as limited as cherries and one I’ll be looking forward to each year now with anticipation. It was perfect! Next on my ‘I MUST have cherries agenda?’ Not a cocktail but this recipe from Jessica at the ‘How Sweet Eats‘ blog. I’m off to get more cherries today. I don’t just want this. I NEED this Grilled Cherry Salsa. Go take a peek, you’ll see.
Have a safe and fun 4th of July; I’ll be raising this beverage to celebrate…Cheers everyone!