Cherry season means bright-hued drinks and sweet cherry flavors everywhere, especially with this Cherry Sage Gimlet. A traditional gimlet is an easy pour, just gin, simple and lime juice. Let’s add some cherries for muddling in the bottom of the tin, along with a few sage leaves or sage tincture and watch some magic happen.
I really wanted to use up some of the fresh cherries I’d gotten recently, they are one of many favorite stone fruits (like peaches and apricots) that are best in season and only around for a short period of time. I focused on pairing up a less-common aromatic with it. Since my sage bush is going crazy enough that I’d made a batch of sage tincture, I wanted to see if the slightly bitter, savory taste of sage would pull through and balance out the sweetness of the cherries. Turns out, it makes a fabulous pairing.
For the sage, I used a sage tincture and rubbed a sage leaf all along the inside of the coupe glass, in addition to garnishing with a fresh sage leaf. The aromatics of sage, slight bitter and savory, matched well with the bright, sweet notes of cherry.
Of course, I also wanted to garnish with a fresh lime wheel, given the color of the drink. I originally used 6 cherries in the cocktail, pitted and muddled with the gum syrup and lime juice. However, it was a little too sweet. I corrected the ratio to 4 fresh cherries and the balance was just right for my palate. Perceptibly sour with a lovely fresh sweetness from the cherries.
You’ll want to double strain, especially if you go with muddling sage leaves in the bottom of the shaking tin. You want to make sure the cherry and sage leaf bits stay in the shaker, not in your cocktail.
Please note, because you’re using fresh cherries, they will stain any fabric or towels they get on. Be careful and make sure your shaking tin is secure before you start to shake. Cherry juice leaves surfaces sticky and stained so make sure it’s contained.
I did use a dry London-style gin, Bluecoat, which was wonderful, but this would also be luscious with a genever, with it’s fresh, almost distillate taste.
Cherry Sage Gimlet
- 2 oz Dry London gin
- 1 oz lime juice
- 4 fresh cherries, pitted
- 1 barspoon sage tincture or 4 large sage leaves torn
- ½ oz simple syrup
- Garnish: lime wheel and fresh sage leaf
- Place fresh pitted cherries, simple syrup, and sage leaves (or sage tincture) in the bottom of a shaking tin and muddle well. Add gin, lime juice and ice and shake well, until the shaking tin is too cold to hold onto. Double strain into a chilled coupe glass. Before pouring, rub a sage leaf along the inside and rim of the glass. Garnish with a lime wheel and a fresh sage leaf. Cheers!
Fill a ½ cup mason jar with fresh sage leaves and pour high proof alcohol over it (like Everclear). Let sit, shaking each day for 2-4 days, or until dark green and pungently sage in aroma and taste. Strain into a clean dropper bottle. Will keep indefinitely (it’s like bitters in that way).