Cherries were on sale and looking good at my corner market, so I picked up a big bag of them, despite not knowing how I'd use them once I got home.
A good number went directly into my mouth, of course, but I figured I should find a way to put some in my glass as well- and also get a blog post out of the effort.
My first thought was to put them in a version of a Margarita I saw listed on a restaurant menu, but then I realized that the recipe for the drink was already here on FineCooking.com.
So I decided to improvise. I took a chance with Aperol, a low-alcohol slightly bitter orangey liqueur, that I thought might work with cherries. I then added vodka to give it some kick without changing the flavor, some citrus in the form of lime juice, and agave syrup to balance the tart citrus.
I muddled in the cherries and tried the drink, but found it needed a finishing touch. I think this drink could work with a fresh herb on top like basil or thyme, or a dash of absinthe for an anise spin. Those might work, but I added a dash of orange bitters instead. Eureka! The touch of cardamom in the orange bitters (I used Regan's Orange Bitters, but most orange bitters contain cardamom) gave the drink an interesting and tasty new touch.
My first drink went down far too fast, but luckily I've got the rest of that bag of cherries...
By Camper English
8 Cherries, Pitted
1.5 fl. oz. Aperol
.75 fl. oz. Vodka
.75 fl. oz. Lime Juice
.75 fl. oz. Agave Syrup (Agave nectar with equal parts water for easy pouring)
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
Muddle cherries in the bottom of a cocktail mixing glass. Add other ingredients and shake very well. Strain into a highball or old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry.