Cherry Old-Fashioned


Once again, I wrote the following for a great Slovak bar magazine, entitled appropriately enough, Bar Magazine. Occasionally Stanislav will contact me and ask me to create a recipe for him in the “molecular mixology style” that will fit in with the magazine’s theme of the month. (Note: Unfortunately Stan has now moved on to bigger and better things and is no longer with the company)

This month our theme is the Old Fashioned, an august cocktail consisting of spirit, sugar, water and bitters, a very simple concoction which can pose a problem when trying to deconstruct into a “drink” made into molecular mixology’s style.

As cherries are often added to the old fashioned as a garnish I thought that it would be a fun idea to turn the cherry itself into the drink. This was accomplished by first pitting the cherries and then carving out the hole to make a goodly portion of the cherry hollow. When one is doing this, you want to leave the top of the cherry and the stem intact, as will be discussed later.

Next, one wants to take an Old Fashioned and mix it with the ingredients that you bought for last month’s recipe, the Caipiroli. This will allow some of the mixture to form a “skin” while most of it remains liquid.

As you fill your hollowed cherries with the alginate mixture you want to insert them upside down into the chloride bath so that all of the mixture stays inside the cherry, but a skin will form along the bottom of the cherry, sealing the liquid inside. Filling the cherries in this manner will make them appear untouched when you place them stem-side up, thus completing the illusion that the guest is just eating a normal cherry.

The complete recipe goes as such:


400 mL rye
50 mL simple syrup
4 dashes Hermes Aromatic bitters
4 dashes Angostura orange bitters
2 ¼ tsp sodium alginate
several pitted and hollowed cherries
place all but cherries in a glass container
blend with an immersion blender
fill pitted cherry with the mixture
lower into a calcium chloride bath
leave for ~ 2 minutes or until a skin forms around the hole
rinse off with cold water and refrigerate until ready to serve


2 tsp calcium chloride
250 mL water

When serving this drink, place several Cherry Old Fashioneds into a small dish and serve alongside a real Old Fashioned. This way you guest can alternate between eating the Old Fashioned and drinking it all the while noting how the texture plays a role in the flavour profile and how well the cherry works with the rye and bitters.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this fun twist on this venerable cocktail. Until next time!

Cherry Old Fashioned

Photography by:
Jamie Boudreau