(Note: this post was originally published on January 23, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform, at which time the photos were updated).
A Cozy Sip
Short days, long nights, cold temperatures, and gray skies definitely call for a cozy cocktail. This one is perfect for sipping in front of the fire while the snow falls outside! It's one we've come back to again and again for years because it's comforting, complex, and very easy to make.
I named this cocktail the Tom and Cherry based on its two primary ingredients: Tom Cat gin and Luxardo cherry liqueur. Of course the name has a cartoon reference too, which I think is fitting given that this drink doesn't really fit into a traditional box. Is it an Old Fashioned? Not quite. A Manhattan? Not really that either. But gosh is it ever a great one!
Meet Tom and Cherry
This cocktail unites two of my favorites: Tom Cat Gin from my neighbors at Barr Hill and Luxardo, an Italian cherry liqueur. I know I've talked about both the Tom Cat and the Luxardo on this blog before, but I'm going to do it again because they're both amazing.
The Tom Cat is an aged gin made by Caledonia Spirits in Vermont; its unbelievably complex, warming, and comforting. I've used it before in my Ginger Bee's Knees and can't recommend it highly enough. We always have it at home during the fall and winter months.
Luxardo is an Italian cherry liqueur, but don't let that description lull you into thinking it's sweet or medicinal. It's actually incredibly deep and earthy, and can act almost like bitters. Get yourself some of this, it's surprisingly versatile! You can find it in numerous other of my cocktail recipes including my Cinnamon Cherry Paloma, Cherry Mint Julep (scroll down toward the bottom of the julep variations), The Last Word, and Cherry Chai Manhattan.
This cocktail was a happy accident that occurred one Saturday in the late fall years ago. Dave and I had been outside all day, and came home looking for a warming, comforting happy hour sip. It seemed like a Tom Cat sort of day, and I grabbed the Luxardo to pair it with on a whim. Magic suddenly occurred!
This cocktail is hard to describe. It's floral and herbaceous due to the flavors of the gin, but also has whiskey-like notes thanks to the fact that the gin is aged. The Luxardo is bitter, earthy, and complex, making it the perfect complement to the gin. A dash of ginger beer provides a bit of cozy sweetness and makes it feel celebratory. Overall, it's a pretty killer combination.
This drink straddles a few different traditional cocktails. It's vaguely like a Manhattan thanks to the earthy flavors and cherry garnish, sort of like an Old Fashion due to its simplicity, and maybe even a bit like a Negroni based on the combination of gin and something bitter. In my opinion, it has some of the best qualities of each!
Let's Talk Ingredients
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Barr Hill Tom Cat. This is a fabulous aged gin from Vermont. It's distributed widely now, so get your hands on some and thank me later!
Luxardo. A magical elixir, this cherry liqueur is a delight. Look for the tall, green bottle with the woody base.
Luxardo cherry. Yes, it actually is worth it to spend $20 on a jar of cocktail cherries. Please trust me on this, there's nothing else like them. You can find them at your liquor store.
Fresh thyme. I like to garnish this cocktail with a sprig of fresh thyme since I love the smell and the woodsy vibe it adds. I've sometimes used rosemary instead, which also works nicely.
This is a cocktail that we come back to again and again. It has been a staple in our house during the fall and winter for years, and one that we've shared numerous times with friends and family. This fall, we brought all our cocktail supplies down to my parents house in southern Vermont and made these in front of a bonfire on a chilly October Saturday; it was perfect!
I'm so excited for you to try this combination. It's such a special recipe in our house, and one of the things I love most about having this blog is being able to share ideas from our home to yours. Cheers!
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.