The Polynesian Cocktail on

This post marks a half-year of weekly cocktails at Putney Farm. And while it seems like a lot, there are so many more places to go with cocktails. We are certainly enjoying ourselves and hopefully our readers like the drinks, or at least the conversation (we know not everyone loves every drink). And with the “conversation” in mind, one of our blogging friends Viveka from My Guilty Pleasuresmentioned she likes Vodka and Cherry Heering, so we decided to look for a cocktail with both ingredients. And as it turns out, a little research led us to the Polynesian Cocktail.

The Polynesian combines vodka, Cherry Heering and lime juice. And some recipes include a little powdered or superfine sugar. It is easy to make and you can serve this cocktail “up” in a cocktail glass or on the rocks, it works either way. The flavor of the Polynesian comes across as cherry-limeade with a kick, and we are fans of cherry-limeade. This is a very easy drink to like.

If you are unfamiliar with Cherry Heering, it is a Danish cherry liqueur, and in the opinion of many booze aficionados, one of the best fruit-based liqueurs in the world. Made from crushed cherries combined with neutral spirits and spices, and then aged in wood barrels, Cherry Heering has deep, developed flavors that work wonders in cocktails (and desserts). It’s been around with basically the same recipe since 1818, so you know it’s pretty good. And after Orange Liqueur, if you have one fruit liqueur in your bar, we suggest Cherry Heering. It works in all sorts of combinations, most famously the Singapore Sling and the Blood and Sand. But if you want to experiment, Cherry Heering is a very fun ingredient that blends well with both light and dark spirits.

And this gets us to the vodka. Some cocktail enthusiasts and mixologists/bartenders have issues with vodka. It has no (or very little) flavor by design and is sometimes a bit heavily marketed and abused (see: Whipped Cream Vodka). But we like vodka in drinks when we want the kick and slight heat of the booze but don’t want to outshine fruit flavors. Carolyn is a true fan of Lemondrops, and I like the vodka/gin mix in a Vesper. And regardless of any cultural over-exposure, a good Cosmo is a fine drink and a crowd-pleaser. And the cold, hard blast of a vodka martini is still a good thing every once in a while. Sometimes we think of the anti-vodka crowd as the cocktail equivalent of the ABC (anything but chardonnay) “movement” in wine. Yes its popular, yes there are other fine spirits, but it has its merits. We will relax and enjoy vodka for what it is. And in a drink like the Polynesian, where you want the lime and Cherry Heering to lead the drink, vodka is the perfect spirit.

As for why this drink is called the Polynesian, we have no idea, and some internet and cocktail book research didn’t help. There is nothing Polynesian about it…other than maybe the color and that it’s a good warm-weather sip. But who cares? A good cocktail is a good cocktail. Especially when shared with friends. Viveka, we hope you like it!

The Polynesian Cocktail:


  • 1 and 1/2 oz. vodka
  • 3/4 oz. Cherry Heering (or cherry brandy, in a pinch)
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon superfine or powdered sugar (optional, we omit)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, flute or coupe’. Serve.


  1. Combine all the ingredients in a highball glass with ice. Stir and serve.

The Mind of a Mixologist: Top Barkeep Grant Murray Discusses the Creativity Behind the Creations

by David Rosengarten

Grant Murray, Scottish mixologist, doesn’t like to pour out only spirits. In a drink, he also likes to pour out his heart.

I met the mega-tender last year at a bar in London…where he was visiting to compete in an international mixology event sponsored by Cherry Heering, the Swedish liqueur that sits proudly on many bar shelves around the world. Cherry Heering is requisite in one of the world’s most widely made cocktails, The Singapore Sling. The challenge for mixologists at this London event: come up with another Cherry Heering cocktail for the ages! To get to London, Grant had already come out on top of 2500 other international entries.

In London, Grant won handily, mowing down four other finalists from around the world…just as he was mowing me down with his delicious drink. He called it “Brace Positon,” and it consisted of gin, Cherry Heering, creme de violette, sugar syrup, lemon juice, and Scotch.

The drink set tongues wagging, the same thing it did to Grant’s tongue and mine…through many wagging conversations, first in person, later by transatlantic phone. For I found Grant Murray to be among the most thoughtful, analytic, articulate barkeeps I’ve ever met. So, with the man in front of me…and with mixology still raging like a wildfire across the bartops and dining tables of several younger generations…I knew it was time to get new insights into the modern phenomenon of extreme mixology.

What I wanted to know from Grant, most of all, was this:

Is there a creative path you follow to a newly-minted cocktail? Are there “rules,” of a sort, that others can adopt in their cocktail-creating efforts? Simply put: “hoots mon, what’s in your head?”

Not to my surprise…that Scottish head is indeed filled with lots of structuring thoughts. In fact, Grant regaled me with his rules of cocktail conduct, a road map to his professional mind. Here’s how Grant Murray goes about creating a cocktail:

1) A drink has lots more to it than the things you pour into it. “Sometimes I start with an idea, or a story I want to tell. It’s a great first step. Brace Position from the Cherry Heering competition is a good example. In the first stage, I thought about the classic cocktail called the Aviation: gin, maraschino liqueur, creme de violette and lemon juice. But I’m from Inverness, Scotland, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands, one of the great centers of Scotch whiskey. So for starters, I wanted to put my local stamp on the Aviation…perhaps with the addition of a peaty Scotch, like the Ten Year Ardberg. Then I realized: Aviation and smoke don’t mix…in the most literal sense! And the thought holds on several levels…for no one believed a smoky Scotch could be added to the Aviation with good results. But it can. If you sniff smoke in an airplane, brace yourself. And if you brace yourself for my drink, you’ll enjoy it. That’s why it’s called Brace Position. In a larger context…it demonstrates the possibility in this world of bringing disparate elements together. The best cocktails are built on complex thoughts such as these!”

Then Grant went on to a slightly more mundane checklist:

2) Most cocktails today involve sweetness. “It’s true everywhere, but it’s certainly so in Inverness”—where Grant is the GM of a company called Cav Holdings, which owns its original Bar One, and the more recently opened Scotch & Rye. “Think carefully about your sweetness when you invent a cocktail. Will it be simple syrup, made from sugar and water, with little extra flavor? Will it be fruit juice? Will it be the sweetness and flavor of a liqueur you might choose to add?” Like many mixologists, Grant often uses Cherry Heering for his sweetness, if it seems appropriate to the specific drink….as it is in the Brace Position, which alludes to the Aviation, which originally had a cherry liqueur in it. “Cherry Heering is often great in cocktails because it was never intended to stand alone; it was created as a drink-enhancer. It has a chameleon-like quality, blending in so well with so many things. If its hints of spice, nutmeg, jam and smoke seem appropriate to a cocktail…use it!”

3) A sour element is necessary to balance the sweetness. “I happen to love sour drinks—most bartenders do. But even if you don’t love ’sour,’ you want some in your modern cocktail. The simplest way to add sourness, of course, is by adding citrus juice, lime or lemon. But that brings a big floral taste with it that must be congruent with the cocktail. Simple vinegar brings less taste, but there’s nothing charming about it. Which is why balsamic vinegar, with its taste profile and sweetness, has become very popular among today’s mixologists. I particularly like flavored balsamic vinegars, of which many are now available.” Of course, another option is the “shrub”—which has become the buzz word of modern mixology. Bartenders everywhere now make their own “shrubs,” giving their drinks a kind of cachet. What are they? Basically, they are vinegar-based syrups, with a maceration of some kind. A sweet-and-sour liquid for your cocktails. Grant makes many, including his Blackberry Black Cherry Shrub. “I chop up blackberries and cherries, toss them with sugar, and store, covered, in the refrigerator for two days. I strain out the liquid, and add apple cider vinegar to it.” And where did this name ‘shrub’ come from? “From preserving,” Grant says. “ ’Shrubbing’ was an old English name for preserving.”

3) Many drinks are enhanced by the addition of something bitter.“Of course, Angostura bitters, available everywhere, are part of the barkeep’s stock-in-trade. But I think it’s much more exciting to make your own bitters. Just like making a vinegar-based shrub, I preserve my own ingredients to come up with something bitter. I make a great one from cacao nibs, which are bitter, mixed with earthy mushrooms…which goes just right with ginger syrup and gin!”

4) A little spice never hurts. “It feels like spice follows me around in my cocktail-making! I always have the instinct to reach for spice. Conceptually, I break spices into four categories: spicy spice (like chiles), back-of-the-head spice (like wasabi or horseradish), sweet spice (like nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.), and earthy spice. The latter is actually one of my favorite categories. I make a cumin tincture that goes wonderfully in many cocktails!”

5) Don’t forget a salty dimension. “Think of salt around the rim of a margarita: it ups the flavor of the tequila.”

6) One of the most interesting “new age” additions is “umami.” “This ‘fifth flavor’ has only been with us in the West for 30 years or so…but mixologists should take advantage of its wonderful possibilities. I like to make ‘venison fat wash,’ which is loaded with umami. I simply warm fatty deer meat with some liquid until the fat comes out, chill in refrigerator, then scrape off the white fat. A little bit adds a great flavor and a silky mouth feel to the right cocktail!”

And a few other basic “rules”…..

7) Seasonality. “Seasonality is fairly important.  whether you are creating drinks, or entering a competition…the time of year, the weather etc. certainly play a part in your selection of ingredients and perhaps the style of drink.  If it’s winter time, for example, you may opt for something warming and rich; in summer, perhaps, you would go for something refreshing and light.”

8) Localism. “Quite important for me. If i’m enetering a drink in a competition, I always like to include something that represents where i came from, whether that be local produce, or a locally produced spirit.  Sometimes just the story behind the drink has an element of locality to it, even if the ingredients do not.”

9) Order of Operations. “For me—and i stress this is very personal, and may differ for everyone—I start with a brand, or a product, and i explore its history, its origins and its ethos.  I usually grab onto something I identify with in the story and tie it in somehow to my own life or experiences.  I taste it, and do a kind of mind map of all the flavours i could explore.  Then i move towards definite flavour pairings, and balance, deciding which methods i will adopt to achieve balance, while showcasing the chosen element.  However, sometimes, from a business point of view, i start with what my customers want, and go from there!”

10) Luck. “Remain open to serendipity! I like to plan things out carefully…but that doesn’t mean I can’t deviate from the plan, during cocktail development, if a totally unexpected taste swims into my mind!”

 So what’s the best-selling drink at Grant’s bars in Inverness? “Without doubt,” he says,,,,”The Drumstick. We’ve sold almost a million of them since opening 8 years ago. It’s a combination of raspberry vodka, vanilla vodka, Cointreau, Chambord, lime and sugar—made to look like a lollipop, and topped with a lollipop!”

“The very most important thing for a working mixologist,” Grant concludes…”is to give the people what they want to buy. Otherwise…you’ll soon be mixing many fewer cocktails!”

Which Atlanta restaurant pours the best brunch cocktail?

The best brunches include an adult beverage or two to accompany the dining experience.

This week’s Best of Atlanta poll found out where you get your favorite brunch cocktails.

Coming in first place as your most desired brunch cocktail, the Cascade Collins at Seed Kitchen and Bar is a heavenly mixture of Hayman’s Old Tom Gin, Cherry Heering, turbinado syrup and and lemon. Add this boozy drink to your brunch must-have list.

Enjoy afternoon tea with a Martini twist on

IF you‘re looking for an indulgent treat either as a present or just want to spoil yourself then Malmaison may have the answer for you.
In celebration of afternoon tea week which runs until Sunday, the hotel group is unveiling a decadent Black Forest Martini to make the traditional afternoon tea even better.
With Techienne Butterscotch, Cherry Heering Liqueur, Grenadine, grated chocolate and fresh cream the cocktail is available for a limited time only, and can be enjoyed with any of Malmaison’s Afternoon Teas for just £5 until the end of August.

Dessert Healer on


The Dessert Healer will cure what ails ya, great for a late afternoon or early evening cocktail this drink is a nice refreshing twist on a gin and juice.


  • 1,5 floz Gin
  • 0,5 floz Cherry Heering
  • 1,5 floz Fresh Orange Juice
  • 4 floz ginger Al
Fill a collins glass with ice, pour in all ingredients one at a time ending with the Ginger Ale. Garnish with an orange twist.

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