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    THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

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    This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on TheNibble.com,
    the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

TIP OF THE DAY: Celebrate The Cherry Blossoms With Special Cocktail Recipes

Cherry Blossom Cocktail. Photo courtesy
Haru | NYC.

 

This is a plan-ahead tip: Organize a cherry blossom cocktail party to celebrate the fleeting cherry blossom season.

In Japan, the arrival of the spring season is welcomed with hanami celebrations, otherwise known as cherry blossom parties. Flowering cherry trees produce breathtaking white and pink cherry blossoms, which bloom for a brief month each spring.

Celebrations include sipping saké or picnicking with friends, underneath the glorious blossoming trees in public parks. And what a tradition: The practice of hanami began in the eighth century!

You cam see photos of the beautiful blossoms, and download wallpaper, from National Geographic.

The U.S. has its own celebration: An annual Cherry Blossom Festival is held in Washington, D.C. The opening ceremony is March 23, 2013, and the festival runs through April 20th.

The D.C. trees are celebrating their 101st anniversary. In 1912, the Committee of Japanese Residents of New York donated two thousand Japanese Flowering Cherry trees to New York City. Most of the trees were planted in our nation’s capital as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.

 

If you have a cherry tree, lucky you—get out the party invitations ASAP. If not, you can grow your own (buy them from ArborDay.org). Of course, it will take some time before you can hold your own hanami under the blossoms; but while the tree grows, you can have cocktails next to them.

Otherwise, seek out a nearby flowering cherry tree and plan a picnic or a simple snack, perhaps with a cherry soda (since public places typically don’t allow the consumption of alcohol). Get ready for the next warm day and prepare to enjoy the fresh air and the blossoms.

By the way, there are some 1,000 different varieties of cherry tree. All of them blossom in the spring, but most, including the Japanese Flowering Cherry tree bears no fruit. Those varieties that do bear fruit from late May through August, depending on their location. Chew on some cherry history, facts and cherry trivia.

 

HAVE A CHERRY BLOSSOM COCKTAIL PARTY

Here are two delicious cherry cocktail recipes from Haru Japanese restaurant (haru means “spring” in Japanese; sakura means “cherry blossom”). The Sakura Breeze is on the menu from March 1, 2013 through April 30, 2013; the Cherry Blossom is available year-round.

CHERRY COCKTAIL RECIPE: CHERRY BLOSSOM COCKTAIL

Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces cherry vodka (e.g., Grey Goose, Svedka)
  • 1.5 ounce nigori saké
  • .5 ounce cranberry juice
  • .5 ounce peach purée*
  • Ice
  • Garnish: thawed frozen cherries on a skewer and/or and small pink or white pesticide-free flower(s)
  •  
    *You can buy peach purée or make it by pulsing frozen peaches in the food processor or blender. Use fresh peaches in season.

    Preparation

    1. COMBINE ingredients in a shaker over ice. Shake vigorously.

    2 STRAIN and served straight up in a Champagne coupe or “Cosmo glass”; garnish as desired.

     

    Sakura Breeze Cocktail. Photo courtesy Haru | NYC. Sakura is the Japanese word for cherry.

     

    CHERRY COCKTAIL RECIPE: SAKURA BREEZE COCKTAIL

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 shiso leaves (one to muddle, one to garnish—substitute: large basil leaves)
  • 2 ounces cherry vodka (e.g., Grey Goose, Svedka)
  • ¾ ounce St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup (simple syrup recipe)
  • 1 ounce pomegranate juice
  • Club soda to top
  • Ice
  • Garnish options: shiso leaf, edible pink or white flower, whole cherry or maraschino cherry with stem
  •  
    Preparation

    1. MUDDLE shiso leaf in a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients and ice in a shaker, and shake vigorously for 8-10 seconds.

    2. FILL pilsner or other tall glass with ice; strain cocktail into ice-filled glass.

    3. TOP off with club soda. Garnish with a shiso leaf or other garnish.

      





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