Smoke flavour is often used in cocktail making, not only for flavour, but also to add a little drama at the point of presentation. Having researched cocktail recipes we decided to use a smoked ingredient rather than overlay with smoke, so we hot smoked fresh cherries to create a syrup as the sweet mixer component for our cocktail. We teamed up with Pentire Drinks, specialists in botanical non alcoholic spirits to create our final cocktail flourish.
1. Prepare your smoker or BBQ. You won’t need a huge heat base as the hot smoking process is quite rapid in this case. Once the flames have died down and the coals are white hot, add Whisky Barrel Oak smoking chips directly to your heat source, or preferably wrap in a foil pouch or place in a stainless steel smoker box.
2. Put the whole cherries on a baking tray and place on your grill rack. Close the lid and smoke for 30 to 40 minutes.
3. Once the cherries have taken on a smoky lustre and are soft to the touch, remove from the smoker. Put into a frying pan and add the dark muscovado sugar and 200ml of water. Cook on a medium to high heat until you have a syrup consistency.
4. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the stones, stalks and skins and to leave a glossy deep maroon syrup. Put to one side and allow to cool. We poured ours into a preserving bottle, after sterilising with boiling water.
5. Assemble your other ingredients – a saucer covered with a layer of demerara sugar, whisky (with or without alcohol), Pentire Coastal Spritz, fizzy water, lemon and whole cherries for decoration.
6. Line the rim of your cocktail glass with lemon juice and press it into the saucer of sugar for a crunchy sweet & sour coating.
7. If you have a cocktail shaker you can mix all the ingredients over ice before pouring into your glass. Add equal parts of whisky and Coastal Spritz and a slug of smoked cherry syrup. Top up with fizzy water, mix and pour. Cheers!
This was something of an experiment, but it tasted amazing. We’re keen to try something similar with smoked blackberries, strawberries or redcurrents. The syrup will keep for up to 6 months if kept in the fridge.
We’re also converts to Pentire’s non alcoholic Coastal Spritz which has a lovely complex flavour profile. We used alcoholic whisky (just what we had in our cupboard) but here’s an opportunity for a mocktail, a fully non alcoholic cocktail, just bursting with flavour. For more information about Pentire Drinks visit their website at https://pentiredrinks.com
- 1kg fresh cherries
- 2 tbs dark muscovado sugar
- whisky (with or without alcohol
- Pentire Coastal Spritz
- Fizzy water
- Demerara sugar
- Juice of half a lemon
- Cocktail shaker (if you have one)
- Whisky Barrel