Sour Cherry Daiquiri. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Sour Cherry Daiquiri. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

Some cocktails are spontaneous given what’s at hand. I happened to be making nougat, the French confection created by pouring cooked sugar and honey into whipped egg whites, then folding in nuts and dried fruits. The pix were so stunning in the Bouchon Bakery book, I simply had to give it a go and attempt a paired down version for the home cook. I considered adding rum-soaked dried cherries and so prepared these. But by the time the eggs whites and sugar had cooled to glossy perfection, I worried that the red-tinted rum, attracted by the sugar, would leach into the stunning whiteness of the nougat.

When the shooting was done for the day, I had a bowlful of rum soaked cherries. Hmmm. How to put to use? “Donna! Don’t put your camera away!” I shouted, post-work cocktail selfishly in mind.

I quickly grabbed my mortar and pestle and pulverized seven or eight soaked cherries and the rum (2.5 ounces in all) in the mortar, then strained it over ice (you don’t have to strain if you like your cocktails chunky), added equal parts lemon juice and simple syrup and had an uncommonly fine drink on my hands, a variation on my Traverse City Zinger.

The painful, truly painful, part of shooting these cocktails is that Donna takes forever to shoot! I watch, salivating like a Pavlov dog.

(A word about the mortar and pestle, which I sell at OpenSky. Seriously, if our house were robbed by a desperate cook, and they took this, I would be seriously bummed, I would swear at them most heinously. I grind toasted peppercorns and coriander to rub into beef—it’s the main spice mix for these killer pastrami short ribs—and pork and lamb. I make fabulous guacamole in it, and salsas. It’s big and heavy enough to make an aioli in, old-style, but not lava-rock-rough like a molcajete, which I find are too coarse for my needs. )

Without further delay, then, the Friday Cocktail:

one, two, drink

one, two, drink


Sour Cherry Daiquiri

  • 2.5 ounces rum
  • 5 to 10 tart dried cherries
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • Lemon peel
  1. Soak cherries in rum for at least 5 minutes (and for up to 5 years). Pulverize cherries thoroughly in a mortar and pestle.
  2. Strain into a glass; add ice, lemon, and syrup.
  3. Garnish with a twist and more cherries if you wish.


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© 2013 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.


15 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: Sour Cherry Daiquiri”

  • Allen

    Today, I was going to practice brevity, keep it succinct with a simple “cheers”.
    But I am incapable of that after my libations of excess.

    I am reminiscing about a passage in the bible, I’m not fond of quoting exact passages, but it has something to do with your first day in heaven,.

    The part where they give you an iced shot glass and an I V, both filled with iced limoncello.

    & the stark contrast of perhaps your first day in hell, where they give you a tepid glass and an I V, both filled with Roses grenadine….Aagghhhhh!!

    If I could just say “cheers, happy Friday all, that is where the sincerity is.

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary

    Great workaround. I love the cranberry bits I have left over after making cranberry liqueur though my experience has led to a dessert…they are wonderful on vanilla ice cream. Imagining Rum soaked cherries would do the trick too!

  • Nate

    Bacardi silver and standard refrigerator cubes? Have you no decency?

  • Auntie Allyn

    Love your mortar and pestle. But how do you clean it? Aren’t you worried about your sour cherries tasting like the peppercorns and coriander you ground previously?

    • Emilia

      I’ll have Michael chime in on this topic. The way I clean my mortar and pestle is with either a damp sponge to remove the spices or with some hot soapy water, a rinse, and then air dry. How you clean your mortar and pestle depends on the type (wood, stone, etc..)

  • Carole

    I have the exact same questions Auntie Allyn has? Especially the second one asking about the transference of flavors.

  • lux

    I wonder if dried cranberries would work with this….. will give it a try when I get home.

  • Darren

    Have you ever used Myer’s white rum? I don’t care for rum, but Myer’s white is quite good (and cheap). Especially in mojitos.

    • Emilia

      I have had the Myers rum and enjoy them. I am also a fan of the Cruzan rums.

  • Victor

    Nice recipe. I think I’d like it better with lime. You know, Daiquiri… Lime…cherry and lime. Yum.

  • Ben

    Excellent drink–I used Appleton Estate rum, which worked really well. I might try this using tequila and lime. Cherry and tequila also work well together (e.g. in Mesa Grill’s sour cherry margarita in Traverse City), but fresh sour cherries are really hard to come by.


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