Created by H. Joseph Ehrmann, owner of Elixir (San Francisco, CA).
- 1.5 ounces Merlot
- 1 ounce Bourbon or rye whiskey
- 4 pitted Bing Cherries
- 1 fresh lemon wheel
- fresh nutmeg to grind
In a mixing glass, muddle the cherries (if no pitter, just remove pits after muddling). Add simple syrup, merlot, bourbon and lemon slice. Top with ice to 2/3 full and shake lightly. Empty entire contents into a 10.5 oz. Old Fashioned glass. Top with grated nutmeg to garnish.
Mixologist’s Notes: When fresh cherries are not in season, substitute quality marinated cherries like Maraschinos from Luxardo or Morellos from Trader Joes, and do not use simple syrup. Find a Merlot that has delicious cherry flavors and slight oak to it. This drink will focus on those cherry and oak notes as the building blocks of the cocktail — a riff on a classic Sangaree. Cherry and Bourbon or Rye are a natural pairing for me, so I decided to cut the drink with one of those whiskies (I prefer a higher proof, and a rye-recipe bourbon if going that route), which blends superbly with the Merlot. The lemon brightens the drink and makes it surprisingly refreshing and light, while the nutmeg provides a wonderful nose on every sip and creates a tie to the holidays.