Sunday, July 18, 2010

When is a maraschino cherry not a maraschino cherry?

   When it is a “blob of artificially colored cellulose, …the product we know today, in all its zombielike glory, ” according to David Wondrich. 
He wrote “Imbibe!” in 2007.  This book started out as an update of a 1928 Asbury edition of “How to Mix Drinks, or The Bon Vivant’s Companion” originally written by Jerry Thomas in 1862 and long out of print.  After five years of research (I envision the movie “The Thin Man when I imagine the path the research took him on), David wrote a history book, with a few recipes to try out in it. 

   What started out as an update of the 1928 book led David to search for the exact ingredients and equipment to recreate the recipes.  He discovered that a cherry is not a cherry and ice is not ice.

   The Luxardo Company, now, makes the only true maraschino cherry for your drinking pleasure.  In the 1890s, a maraschino cherry was a sour cherry macerated in maraschino liqueur.

   Ice came in a solid block in the late 1800s.  In preparing cold drinks, “great discrimination should be observed in the use of ice.”  Shaved ice should be used when the spirits form the principle ingredient and no water is used in the drink.  If eggs, milk, wine, vermouth, seltzer, or mineral water is used in a drink, use small lumps of ice.  These lumps must always be removed before serving the drink to the customer.

   I haven’t even mentioned the problems David ran into with sugar.  Non, non, I repeat, of the current sugar on the market is the equivalent of 19th century sugar.  White, raw sugar is too dark, but it is the closest to the taste.  What the author recommends is a Demerara or a turbinado pulverized in food processor.

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About Me

Boomer, hippie, yuppie, none of these are me. Born in the 50's, graduated from high school in the 60's, married & had children in the 70's, graduated from college in the 80's, joined corporate America & divorced in the 90's, was an early casualty of the recession in 00's,08, still unemployed in 09.