Bourbon Cherries and The Fall Cocktail.
Brothers, the heat of summer is just about gone in the northern states. Which means the bitter, citrusy, bright booze is about ready to be put away as well. As we're all about leveling up your game here, lets start with a way to make your old fashioned's and other drinks have just a bit of a fall flair if you will. I'm not going to pull any punches here, the cherry is the ultimate cocktail add on. They just belong together. My great grandmother make a ham glaze that consists of cherries, sugar, and Southern Comfort. If one of the most Catholic women in the world knows they belong together, you should as well.
Bourbon and Cherries, with their power combined - they form an enigmatic add on for cocktails, and a pretty awesome snack in moderation (we'll pretend a whole jar is moderation.)
You're gonna need
Sugar (brown or unrefined sugar is awesome)
Water (if doing simple syrup, although any liquid will work orange juice, more booze...)
Vanilla bean (no extract! the actual bean)
Ball or Mason Jars
There are a bunch of different ways of making your bourbon cherries (or any other alcohol that you choose to substitute, stick to dark liquors)
The most popular way is to start with a simple syrup (sugar and water heated just long enough to dissolve the sugar) Then adding the alcohol and all spices to bring to temp, and pouring that over the (pitted) cherries in jars.
Those will keep longer.
But if you need them in a pinch - or for something that's coming up say this weekend or next - this is how we roll.
Get out your medium sized sauce pan.
Go with a 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup bourbon, and the spices in the pan, (1/4 tsp of each, then to taste) slice open the vanilla bean, add it or scrape the contents into the pan. Put it on low heat until the sugar dissolves, then pull the vanilla bean pod. Add the cherries (a pound is good), stir until coated, cover with the lid, and then let them sit for about 15 minutes on the lowest heat setting, let them cool for about 10 minutes off the burner and then transfer to a bowl with a lid. They'll be fine in the fridge for about 2 weeks. If you like your cherries firm, add them to the mix, and then take them off the heat, and just let the residual heat steam them a bit with the lid on.
Now we say Bourbon Cherries are meant to be for "cocktails" but you can put them on just about everything that has a neutral sweet taste with pretty awesome results. Oatmeal, Ice Cream, Cheesecake? Hell. Yes.
Try it out, let us know what you think. Got your own version, how does it go?