One evening I was at a bar. The kind of bar where you tell the bartender to make you a drink and they create something that you've never tasted before. Upon a request for a nice whiskey drink that wasn't too sweet, the bartender came back with a creation of complex flavor that was not easy to pick apart. The bar was Tavern Law in Seattle - the drink was a Red Hook.
Luckily, the Serious Eats folks were around to provide a recipe for this tasty treat.
I wanted to make this drink my own though. Perhaps even make it that of my own state. Several weeks and a fair amount of money later, I was sipping on a Washington Red Hook.
In order to make the drink Washingtonian, I had to change up a couple of the ingredients. Seeing as the drink only has 3... I changed one and added a very complimentary garnish.
First: A trip Washington's first craft distillery since prohibition, Dryfly, was an excellent way to get some of their new, first in the country, 100% wheat whiskey. Their bourbon would have been a little better suited for the drink, but thirsty consumers can't get their hands on it until August 6th, so I was just fine with what I got.
Second: The garnish. Maraschino cherries are delicious little sugar balls, but what if I actually made them taste like something? And made them out of extremely flavorful grown in Washington Rainier cherries? Winner.
Maraschino Rainier Cherries
taken from the From Away blog
1 cup Luxardo Maraschino Liquor
1/4 cup sugar
32 pitted Rainier Cherries
1: Pit the cherries. I personally used a cherry pitter that I picked up at William Sonoma. Given the store, it was surprisingly inexpensive.
2. Coat the cherries in the sugar. Toss them around to make sure that it's evenly applied throughout. Let them sit for 24 hours.
3. Heat up the Maraschino liquor, but stop it before it simmers. Pour into the jar and shake until all the sugar is dissolved. Cover and place in the refrigerator.
4. Let steep for 1 week. They will lose a little of their beautiful color and the taste will be completely transformed.
All good things had come together. It was time.
Washington Red Hook
2 oz DryFly Whiskey
1/2 oz Punt E Mes
1/4 oz Maraschino Liquor
Garnish with Cherries
It can be served up or over ice.