Growing up in rural Ohio, most of my snacks had one thing in common: the top peeled off. Looking through that veiled plastic window into my snack of pale orange and off-white, I was anything but excited. I just couldn't bring myself to tear into it the way I would a snack cake; in fact, the fruit cup was the one treat in the pantry that looked back at me every time I opened the door.
That was until something magical happened: the halved cherry. Something about looking into the cup and seeing that nuclear-red addition mixed amongst the peaches and pears gave this snack a second chance.
I decided to focus on the cherry angle with this cocktail. Maraschino liqueur takes the tart fruit, and blends it with a soft sweetness and subtle hints of bitter almond. Agricole rum, which is distilled from pressed sugarcane juice instead of molasses, allows for a more earthy rum flavor. I used a high-proof gin, which is great at attaching itself to citrus flavors while not having its herbal qualities washed away. The gin's higher proof is balanced by falernum, which is an infusion of spices, rum, and lime that carries a faint sweetness throughout.
I like to think of this drink as "tiki light." It's great in the summertime, out on a patio, or just like that forgotten fruit cup on the shelf, it can be enjoyed in the dead of winter just as well.
The Fruit Cocktail Cocktail
3/4 ounce Hayman's royal dock gin
1/2 ounce Rhum J.M. agricole blanc
1/2 ounce Luxardo maraschino liqueur
1/2 ounce Rothman & Winter orchard pear liqueur
1/2 ounce velvet falernum
1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
3 slices fresh-cut pineapple
In a mixing tin, muddle pineapple, lime juice, and falernum until it is of a nice pulp.
Combine the rest of the ingredients into the tin. Add ice and shake until cold. Strain over new crushed ice in a sundae glass or Mason jar.
Skewer the pear, cherry, and grape. Garnish glass with skewer, pineapple stave, and paper straw.
(Image credits: Maria Siriano)