This is a very special Happy Hour Friday. A sweet friend I’ve met on Twitter is getting married this Saturday and I’m part of a large group that wanted to celebrate with Nelly (Cooking With Books), even if only in a virtual sense. I remember seeing her tweet, not that long ago, ‘And…I said YESSSSS!‘ and it was exactly as I suspected. A ring was proffered, a request of the most sincerity was made and our Nelly said YES to her beloved “M” as she affectionately calls Brian Murray, her fiancé and soon to be husband.
Nelly and I connected by way of goat. That’s right…goat. Although we had tweeted a bit before, it was during the Goaterie challenge I helped put together this past year that we saw each other in the hallway more often; we chatted up a bit and got to know each other better. I knew she had a fellow in Martha’s Vineyard and was dying to get back to the US to be with him. Now, she will be; forever and ever. Nelly and Brian are getting married on Saturday in Martha’s Vineyard and the food blogosphere is all ‘atwitter’ with excitement!
I thought it important that I find a cocktail that seemed appropriate to the occasion. Oh, I’m sure they’ll have a special bridal toast (they could try my friend Lora’s Negroni Sbagliato with prosecco!) but if there were a big reception and we were there more than virtually, this is the cocktail I would make. Nelly comes to us from the Dominican Republic and brings some of that spice with her, so I wanted something with some oomph. I had just finished making some jars of Luxardo infused cherries, my version of Maraschino cherries, for gifts and wanted to use some of them. It seemed prophetic that I had also just received a fantastic bottle of Tanteo Tequila with a couple of small bottles of Tanteo Infused Tequilas. One was their Tropical Infusion; how perfect was that? I found what I think is also the perfect recipe from a bartender at The Gramercy Tavern in New York City. Combining tequila with blueberries, cherries, lime juice and Luxardo, it’s fruity and pretty but with a real bite. Don’t let that pretty pink color fool you; this is not a girly girl drink at all!
Wishing Brian and Nelly a wonderful day and a lifetime of love. Hugs and Kisses to both of you and of course, Cheers!
Maraschino cherries were originally soaked in 70-proof Maraschino cordial made from the juice of the Italian Dalmatian marasca wild cherry. The commercial maraschino cherries we know are put into a brining liquid of sodium metabisulfate, calcium chloride, and citric acid; soaked in corn syrup and fructose solution; then artificially flavored and colored either red or green. Once you try these you will never go back…promise! They are so simple and so very good; cherries are simply covered with the Luxardo liqueur and ready in a matter of days! See Recipe Notes.
Tequila Smash – A Tequila Cocktail and Homemade Maraschino Cherries
- 8 blueberries
- 8 Luxardo maraschino cherries
- 4 oz Tequila; I used Tanteo Tropical Infused
- 1 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- Garnish: Lime wheel, cherry, blueberry
- Muddle the cherries and blueberries in the bottom of a shaker.
- Add the tequila, maraschino and lime juice to the cup, fill with ice and shake several times. Pour the contents of the shaker into two rocks or martini glasses, ice and all, and serve with a lime wheel speared between a cherry and a blueberry.
To make the maraschino cherries, I used a large jar of sour cherries in light sugar syrup. I drained the syrup and rinsed with cold water and drained them well on paper towels. I've made them in the summer using fresh sour cherries but I like to gift them for the holidays and have found that the ones that are canned work just fine too.
I packed them loosely in 8 oz Ball jars and then covered them with Luxardo liqueur and let the jars sit for several days. These are easy and so superior to the sugared and artificially colored maraschino cherries available at the grocery!
Store in the refrigerator; they will keep for several weeks.