When the first cherry blossoms begin to burst open each year, I know that spring has arrived. Spring brings promise of renewal and new produce, which translates to delicious, fresh cocktails! I decided to utilize cherry blossoms for a garnish atop a floral tipple that’s perfect for spring sipping.
No one appreciates the resurgence of cherry blossoms every year more than Japan. They host picnics with friends and family called Hanami, which celebrates the viewing of the burgeoning cherry blossoms. I recently got together with some of my Japanese friends on a typical brisk San Francisco day for Hanami. Despite being huddled up under blankets vs. laying out on sunny picnic blankets, it was a lovely time spent learning about Japanese tradition while admiring the short-lived cherry blossom season. –Photography and recipe by Ashley Conway of Craft & Cocktails
I mixed up a Cherry Blossom cocktail to enjoy while celebrating the pretty blooms. It features a flower-infused vermouth and cherry jam. Vermouths and fortified wines have been popping up in cocktails of all kinds recently. People are realizing how versatile they truly can be. They are also perfect for creating low-ABV cocktails at restaurants that only have a beer and wine license.
As the trees are blossoming now, that means cherries are not quite ripe yet, so I used an organic cherry jam. When cherry season rolls around, I bet plump cherries macerated with some sugar would be delicious in place of the jam!
• 1 3/4 oz gin
• 1/2 oz rose & vanilla-infused dry vermouth (recipe below)
• 3 1/2 tablespoons cherry jam
• 1/4 oz lemon juice
• 1 bar spoon simple syrup
Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously to break up the jam for 15 seconds. Using a hawthorn strainer into a coupe glass, double strain through a tea strainer to make the cocktail more clear. Garnish with organic cherry blossoms or other edible flowers like rose petals.
Rose & Vanilla-Infused Vermouth
• 2 cups dry vermouth
• 1 cup organic dried rosebuds (found in bulk tea sections or online)
• 2 vanilla beans, split
Add all ingredients into a jar and seal. Shake and let sit to infuse for 5-7 days in a cool, dry place. When ready, strain through a sieve/fine mesh strainer to remove any flowers. Store in a cool, dry place in an air-tight container for 4-6 months.