Cherry Heering has turned 200! Like all milestone birthdays, it’s only natural for friends to reminisce on times gone by and look to the future. It is the many bartender ‘friends’ of the brand that have cemented Cherry Heering’s position as the quintessential cherry liqueur and a must-stock for every bar, and hence it’s only natural that they should be the ones to reflect on its rich history. Over the coming weeks, we will share the musings and memories of 20 legends of the bartending trade as they reflect on a particular year in the history of Cherry Heering. As good birthday guests never turn up empty handed, they’ve each also created a bespoke Cherry Heering cocktail to mark the celebration and cheers to another 200 years.
WORDS BY FABIO BACCHI
Determination and courage are decision-making skills that come to the fore when one is called to make difficult choices, ones that can change the direction of a career and sometimes, life. Until 2013 Nicosia, in Cyprus, was certainly not one of those places where cocktail culture was often celebrated – mixers and spirit long drinks were the standard in local drinking. 2013 was the year of the economic crisis that left a significant mark on the history of the island. It was also the year when a bartender decided that it was time to make a cultural change to local drinking. Dinos Constantinides saw an opportunity in a world that was changing and seized the moment. What was formerly a school would become an elegant cocktail bar with a laboratory for experimenting with new tastes and techniques. Today, Dinos Constantinides’ Lost & Found Bar offers classy international drinks that are refined and sophisticated. One more reason for a trip to Nicosia.
A BRAVE DECISION
DINOS CONSTANTINIDES:“2013 was the year Cyprus fell into a serious economic recession, and during that chaotic period we decided to go for it and open our bar. It was the worst economic crisis in recent history, causing the country’s second largest bank to shut down and the largest one to impose a capital levy on all deposits. As was expected, people became reluctant to spend, causing businesses to close down one after another, which is why the opening of a bar seemed like going against the odds at the time.”
FABIO BACCHI: How did you plan be different?
DC: The big dilemma was, do you dilute your beliefs with regard to how drinks/cocktails should be to appeal to the market or do you differentiate and attempt to penetrate the market? Taking a risk, we choose the second one, and with little to almost no funds transformed our existing bar school into a bar which was completely different to other establishments of the time – specialising in cocktails focused on ingredients, techniques, garnishes, presentation and high-quality spirits.”
FB: Were you inspired by the local community?
DC: “In times of recession, people tend to support local businesses and Cyprus was no exception. In an effort to keep the country’s businesses running, people started buying less imported and more local goods, which is what inspired me to use beetroot – an ingredient that is locally produced and widely used in Cypriot cuisine.”
TRADITION AND RESEARCH FOR NEW EXPRESSIONS OF FLAVOUR
DC: “Trends vary across the world; something that may be considered innovative in one country might already be in use elsewhere. In addition, following trends probably means you will always be a step behind, whereas knowing your guests and offering something which they will like and love is the best thing you can do. Our philosophy is about taking commonly used ingredients, mostly local, and incorporating them with new techniques. It’s amazing to play around with a single ingredient and see how many different “expressions” you can get out of it. We have various techniques at our disposal that can help us reintroduce common flavours to our guests.”
SHARING IS CARING
DC:“What I find very important for the future of our industry, is the ability to share information and tips for efficient production of homemade ingredients. It gives us the opportunity to share knowledge on the various techniques that we use daily and that are still completely foreign to many others. We are already doing this through our ‘Lost + Found Exposed’ videos on our YouTube channel.”
A FUNNY STORY TO REMEMBER
DC: “Until recently Cherry Heering was not distributed in Cyprus. We always try to make sure almost nothing is left out of our drinks’ collection at the bar, so we kept a couple of Heering bottles on our shelves. When Adele Nilsson Robberstad, CEO of Heering & Xanté Company, visited Lost + Found last year, we decided to celebrate by toasting with Heering when she announced that there was finally a distributor taking over the brand. So, I asked one of our barbacks to pour four glasses of the liqueur. Little did I know that he accidentally picked up a bottle from our vintage collection in our private room; a rare bottle from the 1970s which of course was not there for consumption. Since it was too late to repair the damage, we had a good laugh and enjoyed the fine taste of a 47-year-old Cherry Heering, really honouring Adele’s presence there!”
THE CHERRY HEERING BICENTENARY COCKTAIL
DC: “Plums are among the popular locally-grown fruits and I chose them because I find that they pair nicely with Heering. Champagne is the contradicting ingredient of the cocktail. I remember bartending at the private party of a wealthy family and when I suggested that we serve a Champagne cocktail as a welcome drink, the hosts disagreed saying it would be offensive for such economic times. I have the distinctive memory of thinking that this was not the approach I would have followed, and that I had the strong belief that better times would return and so would Champagne – hence the name of the cocktail ‘Told you so’. That’s what it’s all about.”
TOLD YOU SO
Method: Shake all ingredients except the Champagne. Fine strain and add Champagne.
20ml Cherry Heering
10ml London Dry Gin
10ml Vermouth Mancino Secco
20ml Fresh plum juice
10ml Beetroot oleo-saccharum
Pinch of salt
Pinch of black pepper
Beetroot oleo-saccharum:Slice 500g of steamed beetroot. Add it to a vacuum-pack bag with 500g of caster sugar and the peels of 3 limes and seal. Cook sous vide for 2 hours at 60˚C. Strain through a superbag.