Cocktail stories: Perfect, Three Cherries
Chef Adam Handling tells us about creating a cocktail that uses all aspects of cherry trees at his Eve Bar, London.
Located beneath the Michelin-starred Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden, Eve is a cocktail bar that relies on the kitchen upstairs as much as it does its speed rail, with each of its cocktails created using surplus ingredients from the menu served above it.
While the bar has just seen the introduction of a menu that continues its zero-waste ethos, one serve has remained in place: Handling’s own Perfect, Three Cherries.
This ‘perfect’ twist on a Manhattan is the result of an experiment Handling wasn’t able to conduct with food. “I know it’s bizarre because I’m a chef, but I wanted to create my favourite drink utilising the entire 365-day calendar of the cherry tree.”
In cooking, he explains, you can use cherry stones and the blossom of the tree, but there are limits. However, when it came to creating a drink, Handling found that the opportunities for innovation were greater.
“When in flower,” he says, “we cold infuse cherry blossom into a dry vermouth.” They then “lightly toast on a low heat” the unwashed cherry stones, which are subsequently cold-infused in a sweet vermouth. This, he explains, creates a sticky, vanilla-style caramel. “When you age in vermouth, you don’t get such a cherry flavour, but more marzipan, nutmeg, vanilla kind of flavours.”
The two infused vermouths are added to the spirit, which in this case is Scotch rather than Bourbon to stay in keeping with the bar’s preference for British products, which has also been imbued with the fruit. Handling says the spirit requires dilution and “loosening up” after the ageing “because the cherries still have natural yeasts on them, so they keep fermenting, and the alcohol level goes through the roof.”
The final stage, says Handling, is mixing the drink with bitters, before pouring the liquid into a chilled Nick & Nora glass, and finishing with the perfect garnish: three Maraschino cherries.
Perfect, Three Cherries
50ml Cherry-infused Scotch whisky
20ml Cherry stone sweet vermouth
12.5ml Cherry blossom dry vermouth
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange bitters
3 Maraschino cherries
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Pour into chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with three Maraschino cherries.