Cheerwine is a cherry soda that originated here in North Carolina. The flavor is sort of like cherry Dr. Pepper. It is sweeter and more cherry flavored than regular Dr. Pepper. While it is now expanding its distribution, it is still more a Southern drink found in the Carolinas. The company even used to run ads about New Yorkers smuggling "our Cheerwine" to the North.
Seeing a can of Cheerwine in the refrigerator got the Complementary Spouse and I to thinking about cocktails using it. Lo and behold, there are a number of them on the Internet. So we did a taste test on a couple of them last night and I think we can give them both two thumbs up.
From the Tempered Spirits website, we found Cheerwine Cocktail No. 1. It is a mixture of gin, lime juice, and Cheerwine that tastes a lot like a cherry limeade with a kick. It was really tasty and was the Complementary Spouse's favorite.
The recipe is simple. Mix 1 oz. of gin (I used Plymouth's) with the juice of a half lime in a tall ice-filled glass. Top off with 6 oz. of Cheerwine. Tempered Spirits say you can also add 1 1/2 oz. of soda water to this but I think it would just dilute it. If using a dry London gin, they suggest using 1 1/2 oz.
The second cocktail was simply Bourbon and Cheerwine. Lisa Frame writing in Southern Spark calls it the "cocktail of Southerners". She first came across it at one of our local restaurants Tupelo Honey. Here's how she described her first taste of it.
The first sip was a burst of flavor, a sensation of icy cold, sweet, along with slight hint of cypress and an oakey finish....I made mine with 1 1/2 oz. of Marker's 46 and 6 oz. of Cheerwine. I squeezed a little bit of fresh lime in it as well.
Had Scarlett O’Hara had Cheerwine and Bourbon, she’d have been the one looking at Rhett and telling him she didn’t give a damn. But, she wasn’t.
I suggest you get yourself to the local ABC store, pick up a bottle of Maker”s Mark and then hie yourself over to the nearest Piggly Wiggly and grab a 2 liter Cheerwine.
Head home, grab a Highball and fill it half full of ice. Everything is always half full in the South. Always.
Now, open your Maker’s Mark and pour a healthy splash in the Highball. No, that piddly splash isn’t going to do it, halfway full is more like it. Now, top it off with some fresh, highly carbonated Cheerwine. Grab your sterling cocktail stirrer and give it a quick whirl.
All I can say is that Bourbon and Cheerwine puts Bourbon and Coke to shame. It is light years ahead of it in my opinion. I can see myself sipping this on the porch in the summer when I don't want bourbon on the rocks. I might not use my Woodford Reserve or Blanton's in this concoction but it would be a good use of bottom to middle shelf bourbon.
I do have one warning. Be careful. Both cocktails are so easy to drink you might get carried away. Literally.