What do you get when you combine the best parts of two classic cocktails? One remarkable drink that we love sipping slowly in the evenings all year long.
Like its two parents, The Modern Cocktail and Remember the Maine, the Cherry Modern joins a characteristic whiskey with rich fruit, a dash of citrus, and a short absinthe accent that make this a memorable cocktail any day of the week.
Despite its indulgent flavors, lemon, orange bitters, and absinthe keep this drink surprisingly light on its feet – simultaneously crisp and comfortable.
What’s the History?
The Modern Cocktail, virtually unknown for most of a century, was a Scotch and Sloe gin marriage created by John E. Haas circa 1904. Remember the Maine, first described by spirits writer Charles H. Baker in his 1939 classic, the Gentleman’s Companion paired rye whiskey with Cherry Heering and sweet vermouth.
Now fast forward to today where we’re spinning up a new version, a mashup – if you will – of the two, reminiscent of both a Manhattan and a Sazerac with a splash of lemon juice and ANGOSTURA® Orange Bitters to tie it all together.
At the end of the day, its modernity might be in bringing these very different influences together in one seamless experience.
Why ANGOSTURA® Orange Bitters?
Tying these personality-heavy ingredients together is ANGOSTURA® Orange Bitters, a careful, enlivening balance of tropical spices and orange zest.
If you’ve not yet heard of ANGOSTURA® Bitters, you’re in for a treat: a few shakes turns a ho-hum drink into an elevated cocktail. How exactly? Well truthfully, only five people in the world know the exact 200-year old recipe but just know that in this cocktail, two dashes finds a way to connect the peppery proof of the rye to the sweet, tart, black cherry notes of the Heering just beautifully. Thanks to ANGOSTURA®, it all just comes together.
What is Cherry Heering?
Dating back to an 1818 recipe, Cherry Heering is a dark cherry liqueur still made in Denmark from Stevens cherries, various spices, and a neutral grain spirit. Intense cherry flavors give way to stewed plum, almond, and clove.
Maraschino or Kirsch would seem the most likely substitutes for cherry liqueur, but for the Cherry Modern you might consider going back to the Sloe Gin called for in the original Modern Cocktail. The sloe berries in that gin are accompanied by their own notes of sweet cherry and almond, and make for the best alternative in this remake of two different classic cocktails.
How to Use Absinthe
Absinthe – you may also use Pastis, Pernod, or Herbsaint – gives the Cherry Modern its anise-tinted kiss at the finish, complementing nearly every other ingredient at once.
The easiest way to incorporate the absinthe is to measure a bar spoon in with the other ingredients, but you might instead prepare a heavy absinthe “rinse” – swirling absinthe in your glass to coat it – or using a mister to spray the top of the drink once poured.
Cherry Modern Cocktail
- 1.5oz Rye whiskey
- 1.5 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1oz Cherry Heering
- ½ oz sweet red vermouth (Carpano Antica)
- 1 barspoon Absinthe (or Pastis, Pernod, Herbsaint)
- 2 dashes ANGOSTURA® Orange Bitters
- Garnish: brandied cherry
- Add the ingredients to a shaker and shake until well-chilled.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
- Garnish with a brandied cherry.