Words by: Simon Difford
Two cocktails are synonymous for their use of cherry brandy: Blood & Sand and Singapore Sling, and as illustrated by these two classics, cherry brandy combines well with both dark and white spirits (the former Scotch whisky and latter gin). This rich, dark cherry liqueur features in numerous other classic and contemporary cocktails, the following 20 all with at least 15ml / ½oz cherry brandy.
With: Aged rum, fino sherry, Cherry Herring liqueur, Angostura Bitters and orange bitters.
We say: Judicious dashing of orange bitters and hitting the correct dilution will make or break this drink, which is a fine balance between aged rum and rich cherry liqueur versus dry fino cherry and aromatic bitters.
Blood & Sand (Difford's recipe)
With: Scotch whisky, Cherry Heering liqueur, sweet vermouth, blood orange juice and Islay single malt.
We say: The equal parts (scotch, cherry brandy, sweet vermouth and orange juice) formula from the 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book is the accepted classic Blood & Sand recipe but results in a cocktail that's a tad sweet for hardened whisky drinkers. This formula with slightly increased Scotch and orange juice is dryer and fresher. Those with a taste for Scotch and a slightly drier drink may also appreciate the additional spoon of Islay malt.
Bloody Blood & Sand
With: Scotch whisky, Islay single malt, Cherry Heering liqueur, sweet vermouth and blood orange juice.
We say: A Blood & Sand with the smoky influence of Islay single malt whisky and the rounding citrus notes of blood orange juice.
With: Cognac, Cherry Heering liqueur, Angostura bitters, Boker's Bitters and brut champagne.
We say: Reminiscent of a classic champagne cocktail with cognac, champagne and zesty orange flavours dominating. It's surprising how little cherry brandy notes are evident in the finished drink given the recipe calls for a whole shot.
With: Aged rum, Cherry Heering liqueur, lemon juice, pine grapefruit juice and sugar syrup.
We say: Like its creator, this drink is hard to classify. A hint of Singapore Sling oriental cherry with some Cuban Daiquiri aged rum and a splash of Papa's grapefruit citrus sourness.
With: Vanilla infused vodka, Cherry Heering liqueur, creme de cacao and single cream.
We say: A rich Black Forest Gateau like fruity twist on the creamy classic.
The Cheshire Cat
With: Rosemary, cognac, Scotch whisky, Cherry Heering liqueur, Punt E Mes and cinnamon syrup.
We say: A twist of the classic Vieux Carre with scotch substituting rye whisky and cherry wine in place of vermouth. The bitter balance is provided by aromatised wine.
With: Genever, Cherry Heeering liqueur, chinato, dry gin, maraschino and orange bitters.
We say: Jenever provides the yuletide spirit base, sweetened and flavoured by cherry liqueur, with Chinato drying and adding wine notes while gin adds freshness and botanical complexity. Maraschino and orange bitters complete this festive tipple.
With: Scotch whisky, lemon juice, blood orange juice, Benedictine and Cherry Heering liqueur.
We say: Reminiscent of a Blood and Sand with Benedictine and lemon juice replacing sweet vermouth.
With: Bourbon, Cherry Heering liqueur, maraschino liqueur and orange bitters
We say: An after-dinner cocktail with a good slug of bourbon, sweetened by rich cherry.
I'll Take Manhattan
With: Bourbon, Cherry Heering liqueur, sweet vermouth and Angostura Bitters.
We say: Cherry is more than a garnish in this twist on the classic Manhattan.
With: Aged rum, Cherry Heering liqueur and Tiki bitters.
We say: This great cocktail is dramatically influenced by the style of rum used. Francesco's original recipe calls for English Harbour rum.
With: Rye whiskey, Yellow Chartreuse, Cherry Heering liqueur and Fernet Branca.
We say: Fernet Branca adds an almost smoky note to the rye, Yellow Chartreuse and cherry brandy combo. A great bittersweet after dinner digestif.
Perfectly Straight Blood & Sand
With: Scotch whisky, Islay single malt, Cherry Heering liqueur, kirsch eau-de-vie, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth and orange juice.
We say: I'm usually a maximum of five ingredients in a cocktail kind-a-guy but this Blood & Sand riff with seven ingredients is balanced and tasty. If I were in Asia, where the number eight is lucky, then I'd have also used equal parts orange juice and blood orange juice to keep the number of ingredients lucky.
Remember the Maine
With: Absinthe, bourbon, Cherry Heering liqueur and sweet vermouth.
We say: Charles H. Baker says of this twist on a Sazerac, "Treat this one with the respect it deserves, gentleman."
With: Islay single malt, Drambuie and Cherry Heering liqueur.
We say: Peaty Islay single malt whisky lightly sweetened and flavoured with heather honey herbal whisky liqueur and cherry brandy, stirred and served on-the-rocks with an orange zest twist adding zestiness.
Singapore Sling (Baker's recipe)
With: Old tom gin, Benedictine, Cherry Heering liqueur and soda water.
We say: Lacks the citrus of other Singapore Slings but the strength of the gin and dilution cuts and so balances the sweetness of the liqueurs.
With: Bourbon, triple sec, Cherry Heering liqueur and sweet vermouth.
We say: Akin to a fruit laced Sweet Manhattan.
Sour Cherry Spritz
With: Prosecco, triple sec, Cherry Heering liqueur and soda water.
We say: The name aptly describes the drink.
With: Cognac, Cherry Heering liqueur, sugar syrup and Angostura Bitters.
We say: Tangy, rich cherry and hints of vanilla fortified with brandy.