Sadly, our dear friends Allison and Mark lost their grandmother, Viola, this past December. She had moved into a new apartment in August of last year, where she received a little more assistance when she needed it. As Allison and Mark’s mom, Bethany, and her husband, Harold, were discussing the new place and some of the new items they needed to pick up for Viola (new coffee pot, new TV), she interrupted, asking, “More important than any of this, is there a nice cabinet for the liquor?” Bethany just laughed and said, “You know, we already checked that out when we visited! There’s only one problem: it’s above the refrigerator and Harold is the only one who can reach it. I’m not sure that’s going to work very well. I think you’d have to drag a chair over if you wanted to get at it.” Then Harold said, “Yeah, maybe that’s not such a good plan considering you just fell earlier this week.” Viola replied, “I don’t know…I think reaching for a bottle of Wild Turkey sounds like a good way to go.”
My kind of lady.
Collectively, the Bun and I only talked with Viola a handful of times, but it was obvious to us how much she meant to her family and how much her family meant to her. As she would have wanted, the whole of her clan was celebrating her life in Michigan (her home state) a few weeks ago. We decided that this week’s cocktail should be in her honor. This is a sweet, but spicy take on a Manhattan and an Old-Fashioned, using fresh Michigan cherries and (what else?) Wild Turkey.
In a metal cocktail shaker, mash together:
7-9 sweet red cherries, pitted
1 tablespoon of sugar (or to taste)
To mash, I find myself using whatever kitchen tool has a long handle and a wide, flat bottom. I think you can buy something specific to this task called a “cocktail muddler,” but if you are like me, you don’t need any extra implements cluttering up your drawers. You can just use a wooden spoon, too. The point is to get the cherries to release as much juice as possible without making a puree. Once the sugar is dissolved, add:
Juice from 1/2 a lime
3/4 cup of Wild Turkey
At this point, you can add a few ice cubes and shake the mixture, or simply stir it together to combine. Strain into rocks glass filled with ice, top with club soda, and garnish with a lime wedge and a sweet (not Maraschino) cherry.
Toast to the good times.