I look forward to summer for two main things – sunshine and cherries!
Realistically, there are more things that I look forward to as well; barbecues, watermelon, lake trips, the beach, etc., but what fun is a blog post without opening with a strong, dramatic statement. Cherries really are up there on the list!
Typically each year I wait until the rainier cherries come out, buy a case (yes, usually 20 pounds…), get my bounty home, and then wonder what I am going to do with them all! I learned after the first year that the answer was not trying to eat as many as I could in one sitting, which did not go well. I really familiarized myself with the wallpaper in the bathroom that day. In subsequent years, I found many uses for my batch of cherries and this year I feel like I found the best use for them yet: my Balsamic Cherry Compote Mojito!
Ever since I discovered cocktails, a fresh, crisp mojito has been one of my favorite go to drinks. If I see a bar that has a signature mojito I will try it over just about anything (unless they have a classy mule of course). I have tried mojitos with different types of berries and fruits and pretty much liked them all. I hadn’t tried one with cherries and while I sat looking at this case of fresh fruit thought it sounded like a good use of the cherries.
Typically I will use a pitter to remove the pits on my cherries. In preparation for these mojitos, I discovered that just slicing around the fruit, removing half of the cherry, and taking the pit out by hand was easier to confirm the pit was actually removed. It went really fast and I knew that I was not going to randomly chomp down on a pit. I ended up removing all of the pits this way and it made the cherries a lot easier to freeze, use in cobblers and crisps, and to make smoothies because they were smaller pieces to start. I strongly suggest this if you are a cherry hoarder like I am.
When I finished the first version of the mojito, it was a little too sweet for me. Adding a little bit of the balsamic glaze added just enough tart/bitter to balance out the sweet of the cherry compote. If you don’t like balsamic this would be easy to substitute out something with the same flavor profile.
Whatever you decide, enjoy your summertime mojito!
Balsamic Cherry Compote Mojito
Makes 1 cockail
½ cup cherry compote
8 mint leaves
1 lime cut in eighths
1 drop doTERRA peppermint essential oil*
3 drops doTERRA lime essential oil*
2 oz gold rum
1 tsp balsamic glaze
2 heaping cups pitted cherries (I used rainier)
½ cup organic sugar (I believe the organic sugar adds more flavor than plain white, but it works too)
Add the limes into a pint glass and muddle until the juice is pressed out. Add some ice to the cup and add the cherry compote, rum, essential oils, mint leaves, and balsamic glaze. For the mint leaves, hold them in one palm, smack the other hand onto them and with pressure held spin your hands 180 degrees like windshield wipers. This technique releases the mint oil without releasing the chlorophyll that will make the drink bitterer; you don’t want to muddle your mint with the limes.
Place a shaker tin over the top of your pint glass (or mix in your shaker if you use that kind of system) and give it a smack to create the seal. Shake 10-20 times back and forth, remove the pint glass from the shaker tin, pour the contents of the shaker back into the pint glass and fill remaining space with soda water. Garnish with sprig of mint and lime sections. For a prettier version, I strain the fruit out of my shaker tin and add fresh fruit to my finished glass, either way it will be delicious. Add a straw and enjoy.
The compote is simple, add the cherries and sugar into a pot and heat over medium heat. After a couple minutes the cherry juice begins to release and dissolve the sugar. Once the cherries were at this point, I took my muddler (bar tool for smashing things) and muddled it until the cherries were slightly broken up. I didn’t quite make it into a puree, but pretty mashed. I heated it until the cherries were mushy and the sauce began to thicken a little. Then I removed it from the heat and allowed it to cool before using it in the cocktails. If you are in a hurry you could place the compote in the freezer for a few minutes; you just need it cool enough not to melt all your ice.
* You do not have to use doTERRA essential oils but if you do use essential oils make sure they are food grade and safe for internal consumption.