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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

Cherry Blossom

Updated: Dec 22, 2020

Another instant classic from the Minimalist Tiki.

Cherry Blossom Cocktail

As I continue to work my way through Minimalist Tiki, an interesting confluence of a thing I do not like landed squarely in another thing that I do like. The cognitive dissonance demanded resolution (or a drink) so I opted for the latter.

First, the thing I don't like; Blue Curaçao. Honestly, I'm not crazy about orange curaçao either unless it's dry like Ferrand Dry Curaçao and especially not when compared to other orange liqueurs like Gran Marnier or Contreau. Adding blue food coloring to it only adds insult to injury. It's always seemed like the very type of thing that led to the downfall of ruhm rhapsodies into boat drinks.

However, I have a thing for black velvet paintings. I know you're shocked, right?! There's one of Clint Eastwood from The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly hanging behind the bar at 55 South in Franklin, TN that you'd swear contained an actual lit cigarette. Well, maybe it wasn't the cigarette that was lit, but you get the point. While thumbing through Minimalist Tiki I saw the recipe for Cherry Blossom and recoiled from the blue curaçao only to see a lovely black velvet painting of the drink instead of the typical photograph. The electric blue set off on the field of light absorbing black velvet as dark as a woman's heart called to me. So, I made one. And then another. And the next day, a couple of more. Along the way I think I learned a few things.

First of all, carrying around or sending pics of a blue drink gets noticed. Something about the wholly unnatural color demands attention. Maybe I missed the point of blue curaçao when I only concerned myself with issues of taste. (see what I did there?) While we're on the, "don't judge a book by its cover" theme, I also learned that you can have a cherry drink without a bit of cherry in it. I'm sure there is some gastro-oriented chemist out there that could explain why a combination of coconut, pineapple, and cinnamon produce a compound that reacts on one's palate in a similar fashion to cherry but I ain't that guy. However, trust me, it does. Don't believe it? Make one for yourself!

Cherry Blossom Cocktail

Cherry Blossom

Source -Justin Wojslaw; Minimalist Tiki by Matt Pietrek & Carrie Smith

  • 3/4 ounce lime juice

  • 1 ounce pineapple juice

  • 1/2 ounce cinnamon syrup

  • 1 ounce cream of coconut*

  • 1/2 ounce blue curaçao

  • 1 1/2 ounce lightly aged/filtered rum*

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with crushed ice and shake until coconut cream is well mixed. Pour into a hurricane glass and top with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprigs, a lime wheel and a cinnamon stick.

*Bamboo Sam's customizations: For the cream of coconut Justin recommends Coco Lopez. It's the standard and you can't go wrong with it but ever since I worked my way through The Home Bar Guide to Tropical Cocktails I've been using Coco Real. Squeezing a bit when you need it instead of throwing out 1/2 empty cans of Coco Lopez that have gone bad is the best new normal to come out of 2020. However, if I'm making enough for a party I'll still grab Coco Lopez. For the rum I am of two minds. For the light drinker I'd make it with Cruzan White cause you'll feel it before you taste it and it's blue and it's in a hurricane glass so, ya know. Personally, I like using Brugal Especial Extra Dry. All Brugal rums are dry and it really keeps the drink from getting overly sweet considering the non-rum ingredients.

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