Quick Drinks: Tart Cherry Cocktail

Julianne Puckett

Two confessions. One: I love cocktails. Two: I am lazy. Well, lazy when it comes to making cocktails. I refuse to consider making a drink with an ingredient list that requires six new hard-to-find bottles or a consultation with a dictionary. This laziness has caused "cocktail hour" at my house to become essentially "glass-of-wine hour", which is frankly getting pretty boring.

Therefore, for my new year's resolution, I've decided to give our cocktail hour a kick in the pants. I'm on a quest for recipes for simple cocktails—some classic, some new, but all with fewer than five ingredients, none of which are weird. Camel's milk? No way. Dry ice? Give me a break. Bacon? OK, maybe.

This tart cherry cocktail is the perfect place to begin my quest. It's a simple cocktail (just four highly pronouncable ingredients) that could only be considered complicated by someone who doesn't own glassware. With its brilliant garnet hue and sweet-tart flavors of orange, cherry and lime, it tastes an awful lot like a summery cherry limeade, albeit a boozy one. And we could all stand a little reminder of summer during the dark days of January.

Let's be clear, though, that we're not talking about the maraschino cherry, that neon queen of the garnish caddy. Tart cherry juice, found at most organic markets, has a bit of a mouth-puckering kick that pairs perfectly with tangy lime and vodka. To temper all that tartness in this cocktail, a splash of sweet Cointreau (or whatever triple sec you have on hand) gives a nice complementary orange flavor. If you're looking for a better variation on the Cosmopolitan, here's your drink, the perfectly simple antidote to mid-winter gloom.