Continuing our week-long focus on my home state of North Carolina, I am excited to welcome Nicole Bogas from NC MADE to the blog. She’s sharing a refreshing cocktail recipe you can make with North Carolina ingredients. (And have you entered the NC MADE giveaway yet?) Thanks for joining us today, Nicole!
First, a backstory to describe the inspiration for this tasty drink. The original cocktail was a simple mix of spirit + sugar + water + a dash of medicinal bitters. Bartenders began adding liqueurs to improve the flavor of these cocktails. I suppose they felt they’d improved upon the basic recipe, because they began calling their new creation the Improved Cocktail.
Fast-forward a couple centuries when a beloved barkeep at the gin-focused Madam Geneva lounge in New York City began adding spoonfuls of seasonal jam to a gin and lemon cocktail. The Gin & Jam was born.
I combined these classic recipes to make an Improved Gin & Jam using a host of North Carolina-made ingredients. The base of this refreshing drink is herbaceous TOPO Piedmont Gin from Chapel Hill. It gets its flavor from Farmer’s Daughter Brand Mountain Cherry Preserves from Hillsborough while Raleigh’s Crude Rizzo Bitters cuts the sweetness and rounds out the flavors. I paired the cherry preserves with one of my favorite cocktail ingredients, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, which is made by distilling small sour Marasca cherries from the coast of Dalmatia.
The possibilities here are endless. Just like the seasons dictate what we cook at home, the jar of jam you use can inspire this cocktail. Utilize gin, lemon and simple syrup as your base. Have blackberry jam in the pantry? Pair it with creme de mure (blackberry liqueur). Got raspberry preserves? Use Chambord.
Whatever you do, the ratio below yields a cocktail that is sour and sweet, just like I like ‘em. If you prefer less pucker, pour over crushed ice and add a splash of soda water. // nicole
Click below to see Nicole’s recipe for an Improved Gin + Jam Cocktail!
- 1½ ounces gin
- 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- ½ ounce Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cherry preserves
- Citrus bitters
- Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker or jar. Add ice. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled glass. Sprinkle 1 to 2 dashes of bitters on top of the drink. Garnish with bits of whole fruit from your jar of preserves.