There are three types of people in this world: those that like cherries, those that like cherry-flavored, and those that like neither (or both, which makes this category 4 I suppose). I’m wedged into the latter but have slowly learned to appreciate the seasonal gift of fresh cherries.
Please don’t get me wrong. There are no agendas, no personal allergic antedotes, nothing of the sort. Growing up fresh cherries weren’t a part of my family menu. To us, cherries were the gloopy, glossy globes that didn’t need a cherry pitter but a can opener. Something tells me that’s not quite the way Mother Nature intended them to be enjoyed but purely an act out of mankind’s thifty desire to preserve their short season.
It’s only been the past few years that I’ve learned to have my way with fresh cherries in the kitchen and that has resulted in a slight cherry crush. I don’t want to eat cherry pie or clafoutis unless you can convince me you made it yourself and please for the love of god keep any fauxcherryanything far away from me. That includes Luden’s.
Still, I can’t help but get a teensy bit excited when I see cherries.
Last week the man and I decided to go to a nice quiet dinner to celebrate. Adam had never been to Hatfield’s and I couldn’t think of a more perfect place for a nice, not-so-flashy dinner. Considering we were coming from the Bazaar where we met up with friends from Miami for a cocktail and you can see why this is all hella juxtapositiony n stuff.
May I interject something here? Please go to Hatfield’s. Just go. Quinn and Karen Hatfield have created one of the sweetest experiences you could have and there’s a reason why this place is a favorite in Los Angeles. Trust me.
Back to cherries. Hatfield’s had a Cherry Sidecar on the menu and since all their other cocktails are fantastic I knew this would be as well. One became two, two became three, Adam told me to use my inside voice, the food was delicious, I said I didn’t want dessert but it came with my meal, I ate it and part of his, and that is this story! Fun, isn’t it? Ok, not really. But I did manage to ask how the drink was made and both our server and Karen were very forthcoming.
I tried recreating the drink at home with pretty good results. Of course it wasn’t Hatfield’s but pretty damn close. For my drink I infused about a pound of pitted and split cherries into brandy and put that in the fridge for 5 days. If you follow me on Twitter you know that I was sneaking little sips daily, shhhh! When it finally have enough cherry-ness to it I made a simple cherry reduction: 1 pound of pitted cherries, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar. I let it simmer for about 20 minutes and then cooled it. Once cooled I put it in a blender and strained the liquid and discarded the solids, returning my cherry syrup back to the fridge.
I followed the basic sidecar proportions and mixed 1 1/2 oz of brandy, 1/2 oz of cherry puree and 1/2 oz of freshly squeezed lime juice. I can’t figure out what I love more about this cocktail: the fact that it mixes seasonal fruit with booze or the fact that it is one of the most beautiful colors when mixed.
And I didn’t even need a can opener!