Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Giving the Gilroy Cocktail a Heering
A bottle of Cherry Heering came in the mail yesterday. These things happen around here. One day, you don't have a bottle of Cherry Heering. The next, a guy rings your doorbell and hands you one. It would have seemed curmudgeonly to have refused it.
I like saying "Cherry Heering." Maybe it's me, but it just sounds silly. It's Cherry Liqueur, but we don't say "Cherry Liqueur." We invoke the name of the Dane who invented it, Peter Heering, as if he came in assorted flavors: Apple Heering, Pineapple Heering, Cherry Heering. Just a weird quirk of language that's fixed itself in our lexicon over the years.
The Heering caught my wife's eye. She suddenly remembered that her parents used to drink Singapore Slings. This floored me. You have to know that her parents are SO not Singapore Sling-type people. It's as if somebody suddenly told you that George W. Bush reads Troloppe. I didn't have any pineapple juice on hand, so that was out. (Truth to tell, I never have any pineapple juice on hand. The canned stuff is awful, and I don't see the point of buying an entire pineapple and pureeing it just so I can make a handful of drink.) So she said, "Well, can you make something else with Cherry Heering?" I looked hopefully at my shelf of old cocktail manuals, recently reprinted by Mud Puddle Books, and said "I'm sure I could come up with something."
Of the Mud Puddle reprints (and I must here boast that I have them all!), I have found McElhone's 1927 work "Barflies and Cocktails" the most useful. The other, older manuals are interesting as historical works. But "Barflies," being closer to our time, has practical uses. The recipes are clearly and simply explained, and composed of ingredients and measurements one can easily decipher.
I paged through looking for a Cherry Heering recipe and came up with the Gilroy Cocktail. It goes like this:
1/3 Noilly Prat French Vermouth
1/6 Cherry Brandy
I combined the ingredients and shook, as instructed. It produced a rose-colored libation of distinctive taste and refreshing quality, quite unlike anything else I've had. A lost gem. I recommend you try it. The wife was pleased, too.
A bit of confusion: I looked up the Gilroy on the internet, and every recipe I could find varied from McElhone's by eliminating the Kirschwasser and added lemon juice and orange bitters. They also recommended more cherry brandy and less vermouth. In fact, the only place I can find McElhone's version is in the McElhone book! Geez. Can't there ever be friggin' agreement on any cocktail?
Anyway, I'm sticking with McElhone's rendition. I like it. I suppose the other one is good, too. But I like having a drink that gives both my Cherry Heering and my Kirschwasser some exercise. Lord knows they need it.