The bar Elixir in San Francisco is pretty great in part because they give out the recipes to their seasonal cocktails freely. The summer cocktail menu listed a drink called the Eastern Market with cherries, rosemary, and black peppers that I could practically taste just from reading the ingredients, so I requested the recipe.
The bar's owner, H. Joseph Ehrmann, says that the drink was created for the 2012 Bombay Sapphire/GQ Bartender of the Year competition. "The inspiration came from some pickled cherries I made last summer with black pepper and rosemary. While snacking on them I thought, 'These need some gin!'" he says.
Some tips on making the drink, as I learned when I recreated it at home: Pit the cherries before you muddle them. Also, heat the peppercorns in the syrup first before adding the rosemary, as they take a bit more coaxing to bring out their wonderful spiciness relative to the herb.
And feel free to use that syrup on other drinks, or just add soda water for a non-alcoholic refresher.
By H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir in San Francisco
6 Bing Cherries
1.5 fl. oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 fl. oz. Lime Juice
1 fl. oz. Black Pepper Rosemary Syrup
Pit and then muddle cherries in the bottom of a mixing glass with muddler or wooden spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice, shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
I garnished the drink with the top part of a sprig of rosemary piercing a lime slice, but no garnish is necesary.
Black Pepper Rosemary Syrup
1 tsp. Black Pepper
1 Sprig Fresh Rosemary
1 Cup Water
Cook the black pepper and the rosemary in a pan until aromatic, then add one cup of water and bring to a boil. Let cook for 2-3 minutes. Strain out the solids. Add an equal amount of sugar as the volume of the water. Store in a bottle in the refrigerator between uses. If you won't use up the syrup for several weeks, add an ounce or so of vodka to help prevent the syrup from spoiling.