Yakimuddle; or, the Traverse City Smash

Oh, hello.  Yes, it’s been quiet around here for some time, hasn’t it?  You probably thought I’d become some manner of Teetotaling Poop.  I’m happy to report that’s not the case: I carried on mixing drinks but failed to carry on telling you about it.

But then the other night, La Roommate brought some cherries home, and it seemed a good plan to let you know what to mix with them should you find yourself having more cherries than you can eat.

The Yakimuddle/Traverse City Smash

Yakimuddle 2.0

At first I muddled about five of them (after removing the pit, and quartering them for easier muddlage), mixed that with 2 ounces of Plymouth gin, half an ounce of maraschino liqueur, half an ounce of lime juice, and some peach bitters.  It turned out translucent and tasting rather like fruit punch, with a very strong maraschino smell and flavor, reminiscent of an Aviation cocktail.  Not wanting the maraschino to dominate over the cherries or gin, which got a bit lost in the shuffle, I dialed it back and tried again.

So here's the thing: if they're Washington cherries, it's a Yakimuddle.  If they're Michigan cherries, it's a Traverse City Smash.

The second iteration employed twelve muddled cherries, another 2 ounces of Plymouth, ¼ ounce lime juice, ¼ ounce lemon juice, ¼ ounce maraschino, ¼ ounce Amaretto, and 3 dashes peach bitters.  This was more balanced, with a stronger cherry flavor and smell.  It was an opaque crimson and rich, the cherry pulp giving it a dense texture, almost like a flip.  The Amaretto’s nuttiness helped round out the flavors, and kept it sweet without being overkill.

The third iteration was quite similar, but I used a full 15 muddled cherries and 2 ounces of Tanqueray – partly to impart a stronger juniper flavor but also because I’d run out of Plymouth.  When LR and I tried it, she said “Mmm, bit like Christmas, isn’t it?  Kind of like a Meursault?” and I went “But the cherries, that’s like summer,” and we agreed that either way it was quite drinkable.  It was also rather homogenous, so we threw in a bit of lemon peel and a bit of lime peel to contribute some zesty goodness and a bit of contrast.

One bit of warning: if you use the full recommended amount of cherries, it will take some time – a good three minutes by my clock – to muddle them.  If I can bust out of my summer lethargy, I’ll try putting them through my juicer to see how that affects the texture.

Stay tuned for tales of the Meursault!


10 thoughts on “Yakimuddle; or, the Traverse City Smash”

  1. Muddling involves smushing/grinding up ingredients with a pestle sort of thing. Muddlers can be made of wood, stainless steel, or various plastics, but they all have teeth so they can dig into the cherries (or mint, or sugar cube, or whatever it is that needs to be muddled).

    I’m trying to remember what I used before I got the muddler I’ve got now; I bet you could use a wooden spoon or something.

    1. Thanks! And genever sounds *fantastic*! I wonder where I can get some…I’ve heard good things but haven’t acquired any yet.

  2. Juice sounds like a much better way to incorporate the flavor of cherries into a drink. A sign of a quality mixed drink is a smooth, homogeneous texture. Look delicious though!

    1. Thing is, I *would* describe it as homogeneous and smooth, just…a bit dense. I measured the muddled cherries, and they measured ½ cup. After shaking and straining the drink, I measured what was left in the strainer with the ice gone: still ½ cup. Obviously some of that was liquid from the liquor/liqueurs/ice, but it seemed to me that a fair amount of the cherry skin/pulp stayed put (and was summarily consumed, though La Roommate and I thought it could make for ice cream topping or pound cake layering or whatnot).

      I suppose cherry juice would make for easier shaking, though, so long as one had high quality cherry juice and not some grape/pear/apple juice affair with a smidgen of cherry flavoring tossed in.

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