Cherry-Licious: Jaleo's Nod to the Cherry Blossom Festival
Yes, the cherry blossoms in DC peaked last weekend, but they will still be hanging around for awhile. And you can still find a bevy of cherry-based beverages on bar menus in and around the District.
Over at Jaleo, Beverage Director Jill Zimorski created the Flor de Cerezo (astute Spanish students will note that it means Cherry Blossom...) She mixes Cardenal Mendoza Brandy de Jerez, cherry juice (actually Turkish Visne juice she gets from the back bar at Zaytinya,) Fee Brother's Cherry Bitters, and Flare Sparkling Moscatel. She tops the drink with a rich, luscious Pedro Ximenez reduction, as well as a sour cherry reduction.
"We use the PX reduction to draw a couple of abstract lines in the cocktail glass - the brown syrup slowly drips down the glass and looks like tree branches," Zimorski explains. "Since it's thick, it doesn't mix readily with the drink when it's poured in, but adds a hint of flavor. The sour cherry reduction is 'dotted' amongst the "branches" to add additional flavor and the glass looks like a cherry tree."
Here is the recipe if you want to try to replicate it at home. Or just head to Jaleo. But hurry--it won't be on the menu for long.
Flor de Cerezo Courtesy of Jill Zimorski, Beverage Director for Think Food Group
1 oz. Brandy 2 oz. Cherry juice 3 dashes bitters (she uses Fee Brother's Cherry Bitters. I think Peychaud's would be a worthy substitute)
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with 1 oz. Sparkling Moscatel (or Cava)
If you want to try your hand at the reduction garnishes, cook down Pedro Ximenez sherry until it's a think syrup. Do the same for pitted cherries (in a separate pot.) Or I would recommend drizzling the top of the drink with a bit of Cherry Heering or Combier Rouge, as both are cherry flavored liqueurs.