With fall fast approaching I am no longer craving the usual lineup of summer cocktails: mojitos, margaritas and slushy piña coladas are, for me, a thing of the past. Now I'm turning my attention towards deeper, warmer drinks that will get the job done when it comes to warding off any autumn chills.
When I developed the Cherry Maple Leaf, I knew I wanted to create something with a base of brandy and maple syrup, but against all that deep flavor, there was something missing. I was peering into the test kitchen refrigerators, moving jars around in cabinets, and going through pretty much everything we had on hand in search of that mysterious, missing element. As I pushed aside a tall bottle of rum on one of the liquor shelves I noticed a square bottle with a plain-looking label: Cherry Heering. I measured out a small amount of the bright, fruity liquor and mixed it with the other ingredients. The mixture was better, but not complete. After passing samples around the office for tasting, one of my fellow interns suggested a drop of dry vermouth, perfect to keep the sweetness in check, and lighten the texture just a touch. And the name? The rich, velvety color of this cocktail reminds me of the beautiful fall foliage that will be heading our way soon — after a long, hot summer, I'm excited to welcome it.