Leo Robitschek, vice president of food and beverage for Sydell Group (the parent company of NoMad and Eleven Madison Park), started brandying cherries during his time at EMP. It was one of many collaborations between the bar and the kitchen that would come to set the restaurant’s bar apart. Pitted cherries are bathed in a sugar syrup flavored with vanilla, orange peel and spices, then preserved in Germain-Robin brandy, for a garnish well worth fishing out of a Manhattan variation.
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- Peel of 2 navel oranges, excess pith removed
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 4 whole cinnamon sticks
- 4 whole star anise
- 6 vanilla beans, split
- 900 g (about 2 pounds) Bing cherries, washed and pitted
- 2 cups brandy, preferably Germain Robin
- Combine the sugar, water, orange peel, lemon juice, cinnamon, star anise and vanilla beans in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the cherries and simmer until heated through.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the brandy. Store the cherries and the liquid in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 4 to 5 days before using; the cherries will continue to macerate and are optimal after around 2 weeks. They will keep for 6 months.