Cherry Vinegar, Cherry Soda and The Best Manhattan Ever

Marinating cherries in vinegar for a week or so brings a lovely sweet sour flavour to whatever you use it for — salad dressings, a sauce for grilled meats, in a long drink or a cocktail. I’ve tried making it with and without sugar. The sugared version brings out a more complex cherry flavour and makes it more stable, though you will use up the vinegar before that becomes an issue.

1 c pitted (or crushed, if you don’t feel like pitting) cherries
1 c sugar
1 c apple cider vinegar (or red or white wine vinegar)

Toss cherries with sugar in a bowl. Place in the refrigerator covered. Check occasionally to make sure all the sugar has been taken up by the cherries, making syrup. This could take a few days, leave at least overnight.

Strain, pressing on solids to extract juices. (Use the leftover cherry bits for muffins or pancakes.) If there is any undissolved sugar, scrape into the syrup.

Stir in vinegar and pour into a glass jar and refrigerate. Shake and taste occasionally. Once all the sugar has been taken up, your cherry vinegar is ready. This takes about a week, becoming more mellow and integrated in flavour. Strain and bottle. Keeps in the fridge for about 3 months.

Cherry Soda
Pour 2T cherry vinegar over ice in a tall glass. Fill with sparkling water. Add gin if desired.

The Best Mahattan Ever

2 oz rye whiskey
¾ oz sweet vermouth (Antica Formula Carpano)
½ oz cherry vinegar
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Peel a strip of orange over and flame with a match if you want to get fancy.