Mess Hall Cocktail Cherries – Go to virtually any bar in the world and along with a supply of spirits, you will find cocktail cherries. You may not find bitters, but you’ll always see cherries. Unfortunately, they are often bright neon colored versions that neither taste like nor have the texture of real cherries. No surprise as they are made using a method that does not sound appetizing in the least.
“In their modern form, the cherries are first preserved in a brine solution usually containing sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride to bleach the fruit, then soaked in a suspension of food coloring (common red food dye, FD&C Red 40), sugar syrup, and other components.” – Wikipedia
Fast forward to 2010. Marianne and Hans Sundquist of Chicago, Illinois decided to try their hand at making real cocktail cherries. Using locally grown Balaton cherries, they gently press them to release some juice, then add a blend of black peppercorn, star anise, cassia bark and rose, along with Demerara sugar and bourbon. The end result is a tart cherry with a slight chew that has elements of vanilla and a hint of spice. The liquid is more of a juice than a syrup; quite different from European preserved cherries. An interesting change of pace and a very flavorful garnish.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Messhall Cocktail