For the briefest of time, sour cherries are here! I've been inundated with them, happily so, and today found myself making jam, freezing them, and on and on. I am also awash in fresh mint, its summertime advance making itself known in my garden. What do I often do when I've got a bunch of several items lazing around my kitchen? Mix them.
First I made a perfect mint simple syrup, always a terrific ingredient to have on hand for summertime drinks. Then, for my little boys, I made a treat of sour cherries poached in the mint syrup, then cooled and frozen. They devoured all but a few which I reclaimed in anticipation of making this cocktail.
It's the perfect aperitif, especially if you can enjoy it al fresco. This recipe makes enough to fill 2 coupes (the smaller more traditional size; not the more modern fishbowls) but is easily doubled or more if you want to serve a crowd! —em-i-lis
In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and mint leaves and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat and, stirring regularly, cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat, and after 10-15 minutes, strain out the mint leaves. You should have a scant 3/4 c of simply syrup.
Remove 1/4 c of the syrup and set the rest aside to cool (on the counter or in the fridge if you won't use it until later).
In the same saucepan, pour the 1/4 c of syrup and the 1 cup of cherries. Heat to a simmer and cook just a few minutes, until cherries are soft but still hold their shape. Cool, strain the cherries and freeze them in a single layer. Reserve the minty cherry juice for another purpose!
For the cocktail
In a cocktail shaker, pour the lemon juice, vodka, mint simple syrup and St. Germain. Add about 8 ice cubes, put the shaker top on and shake vigorously, about 20 times.
Strain into two coupe glasses, and garnish with two frozen minty cherries and a mint sprig.