We have been talking about doing a cocktail series for some time now. It is really sad, that we are just getting around to it, too, as we have had some pretty darn good cocktails. We love cocktails! There is something so nostalgic about them. We use to be purely wine drinkers with an occasional vodka tonic tossed in for excitement. Then we picked up a few cocktail books and unleashed the beast over at Chez Chez.
We were going to wait until July 1st kick off all the thirsty fun; but, after sampling a couple of these lovelies over the weekend, we decided we needed to give you enough time to pick up the ingredients, particularly one very secret ingredient. We thought this particular cocktail would be perfect for any Fourth of July celebration, after all, two of the ingredients are from our beloved USA. The bourbon is from Kentucky and cherries are from Tennessee; it doesn’t get much more American than that!
What we are really excited about is Ole Smoky Moonshine Cherries. That is right, folks, Moonshine Cherries. As we said before, it doesn’t get much more American than that. It is true, there is moonshine being made in them their mountains of Tennessee, and what they are doing with fruit should be illegal. Moonshine started out being made by our Scottish and Irish ancestors who migrated to the Smokey Mountains. It did not take these wise fellows long, to realize they would make more money selling a gallon of moonshine, than a bushel of corn. Soon after the industry starts taking off, the good ole government came in and cracked down. Hence, all the bootlegging that started taking place. Folks in these small mountain communities did not take nicely to this, and they kept their moonshine businesses going strong. It was easy to hide a business in the mountains, after all, the law was not about to go deep into the unknown. Lucky for us, it is now legal to have a little moonshine and we recently had the opportunity to try out Moonshine Cherries.
Pretty Please With A Cherry On Top! Don’t let these small little cherries fool you. Think of these cherries as a party in a Mason jar. From the adorable packaging to the first little nibble, you will be wowed. Maraschino cherries are soaked in moonshine before being packed into a jar with a little more …. moonshine. As soon as you break the seal, you get that first whiff of moonshine, then a slightly sweet, almost vanilla-like aroma. As your fingers reach into the jar, you will be a little nervous. Moonshine? Cherries? Then you will slide that first cherry between your teeth and will bite down; sweet cherry juice with a bit of alcohol will burst into your mouth, slide down your throat and warm your belly. WOWZA was the first word that slipped over both of our lips.
These cherries are delicious on their own but be forewarned, they do have a kick after 5 or 6 of them. You can add them to your favorite cocktail or add a couple as the topping to your “adult” bowl of ice cream. I would definitely NOT serve these to the kids! There is something really special about these cherries, besides being made with moonshine. When you have some friends over and pull out the jar or bring a jar to a party, you have instantly become that “person” …. making everyone smile all night long!
We have been enjoying these cherries in cocktails as well as on an ice cream sundae. A couple cherries are a great addition to an adult Shirley Temple or Rum and Coke, as well as a traditional Manhattan or even with a little bourbon on ice. One of our favorite drinks to add the cherries too is a spin on a Horse’s Neck. We use traditional Bourbon with a splash of Ginger Beer, a squeeze of lime juice, a drizzle of moonshine, and the cocktail nibble, Moonshine Cherries. It is sophisticated and refreshing.
Have you ever tried Moonshine? Do you have a favorite cocktail using it as an ingredient?
** serves two
4 ounces of bourbon
8 ounces of ginger beer
1 lime, cut in half
In a cocktail shaker add the ice, bourbon, and the juice from 1/2 of the lime. Shake.
In 2 cocktail glasses add a couple chunks of ice, pour 1/2 of the shaken bourbon in each glass.
Fill with the ginger beer.
Drizzle a small amount of the moonshine over the top.
Garnish each glass with 4 moonshine cherries.
Cut 2 thin strips of lime, rub each one on the rim of the glass, then twist the lime, and add to the glass.
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