‘The only time I ever enjoyed ironing was the day I accidentally got gin in the steam iron’ – Phyllis Diller
Gin is up there for me with olives and coffee as something that was once an acquired taste, and a taste I was never keen on, and now I can’t imagine my life without them in it.
You probably know the name already from their successful production of Sambuca but Luxardo is the oldest family-owned liqueurs company in Italy and now owns over 30,000 Marasca cherry trees in Northern Italy.
Luxardo has recently set up residency at the Botanist in Newcastle and since I was unable to attend the launch night, they very kindly sent me a bottle of their new sour cherry gin, limoncello and jar of sour cherries to make my own at home and report back.
An interesting fact about my taste pallet is that cherry flavoured things are probably my favourite of all the fruits (cherry coke, cherry drops, cherry Veba when it was around in the late 90s) so to make my own cherry flavour concoctions at home was a dream come true. Thank full I was also sent a few recipes to try out, so I didn’t just end up adding some slimline tonic and passing it off as a cocktail.
Before we delved into the cocktails, we wanted to taste the gin in it’s most natural form first so started with a simple gin and tonic (not a cocktail, I appreciate). I’m very vocal about the fact that I don’t like gin liquors. I find them overly syrupy and to make up for the low abv the just add a load of sugar. Thankfully, Luxardo gin is a full, flavourful, packs a wallop 37.5% authentic gin. So, it means when topped with your favourite tonic, it still actually tastes like gin. The cherry flavour itself is spot on as well making it the perfect year round gin. The jammy and almondy taste mean it’s both refreshing in the summer with ice or cosy and festive (it could even be mulled in to something if that’s your bag) in the winter.
25ml Luxardo Sour Cherry Gin
15ml Luxardo Cherry Syrup (from a jar of maraschino cocktail cherries)
15ml lemon juice
Shake ingredients over ice, and strain into a champagne flute. Top with chilled prosecco. Garnish with a Luxardo maraschino cherry.
This was the perfect aperitif for the Italian themed dinner party we were hosting for my in-laws and was the perfect introduction to the cherry flavoured gin. Using the syrup from the jar of cherries is a great idea (I hate waste!) and instead of mixing up in a shaker I layered the ingredients which worked well. As soon as you add the prosecco it all fizzes up together anyway and the booze-soaked cherries at the end are a bonus. The bitterness of the gin offsets the sweetness of the prosecco for a great balance so those who aren’t a fan of overly sweet, fruity cocktails will love this.
50ml Luxardo Limoncello
15ml lemon juice
Dash of tonic water
Top with chilled prosecco
Build in a champagne flute
I’ve written before how I’m also a fan of all things lemon, and Limoncello is something that always has a spot on our spirits shelf. The great thing about Luxardo Limoncello is that it’s not over sweet like some cheaper brands tend to be. Which means whether building it in a cocktail, having it over ice with some tonic water, or as a shot at the end of the night, it fits the bill. The spritz cocktail was also versatile, we had it before dinner, but I think it would also work brilliantly as an after-dinner pallet cleanser, it’s so refreshing!
Both cocktails contain some lemon juice which personally, i would forgo when making them again. I think gin as a spirit is dry anyway and the sourness of the sour cherry is more than enough to satisfy your juniper craving. The addition of the lemon made it slightly too sharp, but that’s just my personal preference Perhaps i’m sour enough already?!
If you’re wondering where you can get your Luxardo fix locally, as i mentioned they’ve joined forces with The Botantist in Newcastle and added the spirit to their ever growing cocktail menu. Or you can also buy directly on the Luxardo shop on Amazon