How to Match Cocktails & Dishes: Cherry Edition
Words by Jane Ryan
These three simple pairings, with easy to make cherry liqueur cocktails at their heart, will become your go-to staples for aperitifs, hosting friends and finishing dinner parties in style. Grab a bottle of Heering Cherry liqueur and let’s get started.
Cherries are the king of Christmas in Australia, but that doesn't rule them out from the other 364 days of the year - their rich fruity flavour really can be the cherry on top of every occasion, and an exciting addition or switch-out to your drinks and dishes.
To approach any pairing, you have to start off with the flavour you’re wanting to match or complement and go from there. For this guide we’re using Heering Cherry liqueur which is – somewhat obviously - a cherry liqueur as a base for all our matches, so importantly we need to get our heads around which flavours stand out best.
This is what we, at Difford’s Guide, get from Heering Cherry liqueur:
Aroma: Stewed cherry, cherry jam, woody and spicy with faint almond.
Taste: Stewed plum and cherry jam. Syrupy sweet but with partially balancing fruit tartness.
Aftertaste: Almond and cherry jam with lingering fruit tartness.
From this basis here’s three easy occasions to bring cherry to the party - and if you're wondering where to grab a bottle of Heering Cherry liqueur in Australia, Dan Murphy's sells it nation-wide.
Heering Spritz with sourdough, olive oil and well-aged vinegar
Difficulty rating: Easy
Aperitivo is all about opening up the palate and getting ready for the night ahead. Here we’re pairing a Heering Spritz made with cherry liqueur, prosecco and soda to a tart bread with rich, vegetal oil and acidic aged vinegar. Our Cherry Heering is providing the vital sweet n’ sour fruit much like quince paste does to a perfect cheeseboard – while the prosecco, soda and sourdough are all tart and dry. There’s also a lot to be said for the texture in this pairing. Rip off some bread and dunk it in the oil and vinegar for a pleasing balance of sharp and rich fat and then reinvigorate your palate with the fizzy, drier Spritz.
Garnish: Lemon zest and cherry
Serve in: Wine glass
How to make: POUR ingredients into ice-filled glass.
50ml Heering Cherry liqueur
100ml Dry prosecco
30ml Soda water
Heering Espresso Martinis with black forest gateau
Difficulty rating: Hard
Making a black forest gateau was never going to be easy, but this pairing is an absolute show-stopper and will be the ultimate cherry-on-top of any dinner party. Let’s get into why this works.
There’s a lot of big flavours happening here, from espresso and cherry liqueur to raspberry, dark chocolate and more cherries. It’s incredibly harmonious and this is one pairing that works because the flavours and balance mirror one another. Don’t think of this as sweet on sweet on sweet though. Espresso Martinis are a great balanced drink thanks to the coffee bringing in astringent bitterness, and the same goes for the cake’s dark chocolate shavings which cover its surface. Together you’ve got a cocktail and cake that’s hella impressive and rich yet balanced and moreish.
We are far more knowledgeable about cocktails than cakes at Difford’s so let us direct you to this Black Forest Gateau recipe from master pâtissier Eric Lanlard who runs cookery school and café Cake Boy. It’s been rated 5-star by over 7,000 people. Or you could just… you know… buy a cake. We won’t tell on you.
Heering Espresso Martini
Garnish: Three cherries
Serve in: Coupe or V-shaped glass
How to make: SHAKE all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
50ml Premium vodka
30ml Heering Cherry liqueur
20ml Fresh espresso (hot)
Occasion: Post-Dinner Treat
Heering Old Fashioned with dark chocolate
Difficulty rating: Extra Easy
Cherry and dark chocolate is a tried and tested match that works so well it has it’s own chocolate bar. Add in the whiskey, which is going to complement those woody notes we picked up in Heering Cherry liqueur, and you have a beautiful partnership that has tannins, sweetness, tartness and a glamorous touch of sophistication. We don’t need a lot of cherry for this one, a flavoured Old Fashioned shouldn’t be overpowered – just a dash is enough to sweeten and bring in a new flavour. This can be perfect for a dinner party with some broken up dark chocolate in the centre, but it’s perhaps more appropriate for a more intimate evening on the couch with loved ones and a good series to watch. Sip, nibble, repeat.
Heering Old Fashioned
Garnish: Orange zest
Serve in: Old-fashioned glass
How to make: STIR all ingredients with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.
50ml Whiskey of your choice
7.5ml Heering Cherry liqueur
2 dashes Angostura Bitters