Blackbird Kitchen in Wantagh Crafts Sweet ‘n’ Sour Cocktails

Brandy-soaked cherries sparked the creation of this clever cocktail.

Ask any bartender about creating cocktails, and you’ll soon find out how much fun the process can be, especially when there’s a problem to solve.

That’s exactly how the cocktail known as one of the boys was born at Blackbird Kitchen and Cocktails, an American bistro offering a seasonal menu of small plates and cocktails in Wantagh.

“We soak our Luxardo cherries in brandy to reduce the syrupiness and add a little bite to the cherry itself,” says Bitsy Donohue, beverage director at Blackbird. “When we’ve used up all the cherries — in Manhattans, old fashioned, and other cocktails — we are left with this delicious kind of tart, sweet, cherry/brandy syrup. So in trying to reduce our waste, we realized we needed to figure out something cool to do with it. We started trying different things and finally landed here!”

One of the boys has several ingredients, including bourbon, lemon, brandied cherry, honey and vanilla. To make the drink, add all the ingredients to a shaker tin, throw in some ice, give the shaker a few shakes, strain the liquid into a coupe glass, and garnish the drink with a dehydrated lemon wheel.

Expect a cherry bourbon sour on the palate. 

“People get nervous because it seems like there’s a lot of sweeteners in this cocktail, but the vanilla and honey really act as support to the depth of the cherry syrup, so it’s not overly sweet at all, while still bringing you all these strong flavors,” Donohue says. 

“Our old-fashioned drinkers have loved it,” she says. “Our cocktail drinkers have loved it. I think it has enough familiarity, while still being just a little different, to pique the interest of our guests. And when they find out the syrup is a byproduct of our cherries, they’re always a little shocked. For me, it’s just really cool to make a drink that’s less wasteful, goes really well with Blackbird’s food, and that people order again!”

Blackbird Kitchen and Cocktails is located at 3026 Merrick Rd. in Wantagh. It can be reached at 516-654-9200 or blackbirdli.com

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