The TC Zinger. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

A PR firm sent me a bottle of Nolet’s gin, which I was happy to taste (and used in The Southside), but when I was researching the gin I came across a Cocktail Enthusiast review of the gin, and lo! What’s this? The author of the post, Kevin Gray, included a cocktail recipe pairing the gin with sour cherries. His post calls it a Nolet’s New Fashioned. (I don’t think any general drink name should be brand specific, unless it came from the company, which this one did—shame on you Kevin! Have a little imagination, or steal, like I do!)

Gray’s post accurately reviews the qualities of Nolet’s; it is indeed superlative gin. Slightly more floral than my beloved Beefeater, but still very dry. It’s so good, in fact, that arguably it should be saved exclusively for martinis. Honestly. If it sucked I wouldn’t drink it or write about it. But, hey, I’ll drink Barton‘s, so that’s who you’re dealing with here.

I recently returned from Traverse City, MI, tart cherry capital of the country (Michigan grows 70% of the total U.S. harvest, I was told), and in my Pigstock swag bag was a jar of local cherry preserves. As I’d bought some Michigan grappa and pear brandy (happily, Brian and I managed not to polish off the entire bottle that night), I was forced to check a bag ($25, thanks Delta, I’ll be flying United next time), so I returned with the preserves as well. And because I’m still so totally jazzed on the whole Pigstock and Northern Michigan experience, I offer this cocktail.

The first of the preserves went on Donna’s morning biscuits, but then they went into this heavenly cocktail: gin, pulverized preserved cherries, and a gingery bitters (Angostura or whatever’s available to you is fine). I do all of my pulverizing in a mortar and pestle; no wimpy “muddling” in this household. Love this cocktail. Thank you, Kevin and Nolet’s, but I’m renaming it.

The Traverse City Zinger

  1. Pulverize the cherries using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add the gin and bitters to the mortar. Give the drink another stir with the pestle.
  3. Pour into a lowball glass over ice.
  4. Raise your glass to Mother Nature and ask for a good growing season in Northern Michigan next year.

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© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


12 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: The Traverse City Zinger!”

  • Marc B

    Not sure if I’m ready for a cocktail for another 15 minutes or so, but so glad you discovered all the goodies Michigan’s Pinky area can provide. And the wine is utterly fantastic.

  • Christine

    I would ditch the bitters and add a splash of soda and lime. Sounds perfect.

  • Darcie

    This is not fair! I don’t have sour cherry preserves. But this looks so good that I might have to detour to Lund’s tonight and see if they have some (and try not to look at the price).

    Beefeater’s is our house gin, but I also like the cucumberiness (not a word, but whatevs) of Hendrick’s for a change of pace. My all-time favorite for a martini, though, is Plymouth.

  • Mantonat

    Unfortunately, United also charges $25 for a checked bag. I found this out because I was toting a quart of Colorado green chile stew to some desperate friends in Florida. I guess they figure all that capsicum is a potentially lethal weapon.

    The cocktail recipe looks great. If you ever get a chance, locate a bottle of New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red cherry beer. It’s made with a ton of Wisconsin montmorency cherries and would probably go great in a cocktail like this, if you wanted something with a little fizz.

  • Ken

    I’ll vote with Darcie on Plymouth being my favorite gin for martinis. Nolet’s is a terrific product, but the floral notes leave me feeling a bit odd about the taste when mixed in a martini. For other gin cocktails, particularly those that contain bitters and/or fruit-based liqueurs and/or lemon, Nolet’s is a great matchup.

  • Dave Polak

    This looks quite delicious, I just might have to make one. Can anyone recommend a good store to get bitters at in Cleveland? Preferably east side. Angostura are everywhere and I rarely see other brands, Occasionally Peychaud’s but nothing else.

  • allen

    Donna, you should be washing them biscuits down with a cocktail too.
    We have Luxardo, Bartons & cherry Grand Marinier.

  • allen

    Citrus & luxardo w/ Bartons, dash of bitters. Close enuf.
    Now back to the martini.
    No more pussyfootin ’round!
    Cheers to all, Friday & no more political advertisments.

    Woop, woooop!

  • JTH

    Michael, we can arrange shipping for you, save the airline checked bag hassle
    Maybe we have to add a mixology session to PigstockTC ???

  • Timothy Fitzgerald Young

    Hey…enjoyed having you at the Pigstock dinner and big Thanks to Cherry Capital Foods for including a jar of our Organic Tart Cherry Preserves in your swag bag. We like to think beyond toast…and you did a fine job of that.

  • Marshall

    Nolet’s is my favorite Gin for making cocktails. A little floral on its own but mixable like no other due to their fruits and botanicals. They have a mixologist out on the West coast who makes great cocktails. He used to run a cocktail program for Michael Mina. Nolet’s website and Facebook page are full of recipes like this.


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