Cherry Amore

We just got a bottle of Don Ciccio & Figli’s newest release, Cerasum Aperitivo, and we are really enjoying working it into cocktails. This aperitivo comes from an Italian recipe that includes an infusion of cherries, sakura blossoms, roots and herbs. Don Ciccio & Figli is a craft distillery located here in Washington, DC (with roots in the Amalfi Coast), and Cerasum is their nod to DC’s Cherry Blossom Festival.

Since one member of the Cocktail Artist partnership has roots in Michigan, we were happy to learn that Michigan cherries were used to create this aperitivo. If you follow our blog you may have noticed that we spend time in Northern Michigan in the summer, and that we are big fans of Michigan’s Traverse City Whiskey Co. Take a look at our posts for the Cherry Capital Old Fashioned, the Grand Mariner, and the Up North Raspberryand Rye to see how we’ve used Traverse City Whiskey’s bourbon and rye (and to check out some of the Cocktail Artist’s watercolors done in his Northern Michigan studio). So, when it came to mixing up a cocktail with a spirit that uses Michigan cherries, we (naturally) decided that Traverse City Whiskey should be included.

Cerasum Aperitivo walks the line between bitter and sweet – it's not purely bitter (like Campari). It also has a beautiful dark ruby color. You clearly get the cherry notes, but it’s much more complex than a cherry liqueur. Using it as a replacement for Campari in a Boulevardier seemed like the obvious way to go, and we weren’t disappointed with results. A Boulevardier is a whiskey-based version of the Negroni, but we've always thought of it more as a bitter version of a Manhattan.

As is typical of us, we experiment with the proportions and deviated from our standard Boulevardier recipe. To elevate the cherry in our cocktail, we added a bit of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, a dash of cherry bitters, and then garnished with a Traverse City Whiskey Co. Cocktail Cherry. By the way, if you haven’t tried the cocktail cherries from Traverse City Whiskey Co. you are really missing something (they're now available on Amazon - so you can get them delivered to your door!)

It’s hard enough coming up with solid cocktail recipes and creating original artwork to pair with them, but sometimes our biggest challenge is giving the cocktail the right name. We know we’re not alone in our struggle – the cocktail community on Instagram (aka drinkstagram) regularly laments over this. For this cocktail, though, the name came to us pretty quickly thanks to Stevie Wonder’s 1969 song – “My Cherie Amour”.  In the first line he sings “…lovely as a summer day…” – and that’s exactly how we feel about this cocktail.

The Artist has been out painting the cherry blossoms – which started to appear in DC a couple of weeks ago (before being stunted by a spring snowfall). We’ve paired the Cherry Amore cocktail with a couple of cherry blossom watercolors and have tossed in a painting from summertime on our favorite Lake Michigan beach.


Cherry Amore

2 ounces Rye (Traverse City Whiskey Co North Coast Rye)
1 ounce Cerasum Aperitivo (Don Ciccio & Figli)
½ ounce Sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica Formula)
1 teaspoon Maraschino Liqueur (Luxardo)
1 dash Spiced cherry bitters (Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters)

Pour all ingredients into a mixing pitcher with ice cubes and stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry (Traverse City Whiskey Co. Premium Cocktail Cherry).

Cherry Amore cocktail and the ingredients

Cherry Blossoms study no. 1 - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

Cherry Blossoms study no. 2 - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

View of Lake Michigan - original watercolor by The Cocktail Artist

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