TT Test Kitchen Tip: The bourbon-soaked cherries offer a strong bite to offset this deceptively sweet cocktail. While we like the texture of lemon zest in our cocktail, feel free to strain it out before serving or leave it out entirely.
Yield: 4 cocktails
Cook Time: 2 days for the cherries; 15 minutes to assemble
4 cups Bing cherries--washed, stems removed and pitted (2 pints)
2 cups high-quality bourbon
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (reserve pod for another use or discard)
1½ cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 8 medium lemons)
1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 1 medium lemon)
1½ cups simple syrup (made with equal parts sugar and water)
1. In a large container with a tight-fitting lid, combine the cherries, bourbon and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 days.
2. To make the cocktail: In a pitcher, stir together the lemon juice, lemon zest, ¾ cup of the prepared bourbon-cherry juice, reserving the cherries, and the simple syrup. Pour into individual glasses, top with sparkling water, garnish with reserved cherries and serve immediately.