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« Birthday Bouquet of Greens | Main | Avocados, Then and Now »

A Farewell Toast to Summer

By Katie Barreira

On Saturday, September 22nd, at 10:49 a.m. we officially bid adieu to summer. For me, the autumnal equinox is cause for celebration – the inauguration of my favorite season. The cozy juxtaposition of brilliant sunlight and crisp air, sweet with the smell of changing leaves, makes ideal weather for tramping out into orchard or staying snug under the covers with the windows open wide.

Anticipating the welcome shift I went so far as to set a “Happy Autumn” alarm. With that, a toast seemed in order and what better way to salute the season past than with a sip of what was this summer’s favored cocktail?

Sparkling Brandied Cherry Cocktail
Inspired by the Rosette cocktail at Buvette (this summer’s restaurant of choice), sparkling wine gets a shot of ripe fruit flavor from sour cherries soaked in brandy syrup. While this refreshing drink smacks of summer, its rich flavor and deep hue make it a model cocktail for transitioning into fall.

To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.

Makes 6

1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 (3-inch) strip orange peel
4 whole cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 pound fresh pitted or frozen, thawed sour cherries (such as Bing)
1/3 cup brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bottle sparkling wine, chilled

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar with ½ cup water, the orange peel, cloves and salt; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from heat and add the cherries, brandy, and vanilla. Let cool, transfer to a jar, and refrigerate for at least 2 days.
  3. Strain 1½ cups of the cherry liquid into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat; cook until reduced by half. Cool completely.
  4. Add 3 brandied cherries and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reduced cherry syrup to each champagne flute. Fill glasses with sparkling wine.

* Keep leftover brandied cherries in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Great with a pork roast, on a cheese platter or over ice cream!

Note: If you don’t have a cherry pitter, you can use a chopstick to push the pit out. Check out this tip.

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Related posts:
  1. A Toast to Toast
  2. Summer Squash “Pasta” Salad
  3. Grilled Potato Salad: An Easy and Versatile Summer Side
  4. Ratatouille – a Provençal Taste of Summer
  5. Panzanella, a Salad to Celebrate Summer

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