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Cheers! Cherry liqueur, coffee liqueur, some imagination

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
A flip and a fizz using mostly the same ingredients.

Tammy Coxen with Tammy’s Tastings took a trip up north to visit some distilleries, including a stop at Mammoth Distilling’s tasting room in Bellaire and the distillery in Central Lake. Mammoth has a string of four tasting rooms from Traverse City to Petoskey. But if you live in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula, there’s one a little closer in Adrian, which is more or less 40 miles southwest of Ann Arbor.

Anyway, Tammy was up north enjoying some cocktails when the bartender said, “Oh, hey. Try this,” and presented something that looked like a little shot. It was equal parts of the distillery’s cherry bounce and coffee liqueur. Tammy said she liked it a lot, but kept wondering how she could make it into a cocktail.

All she needed was someone to test what she dreamed up.

Challenge accepted. After all, I’ve been one of her favorite guinea pigs for the last decade and her cocktails almost always get a thumbs up from me. Almost always.

Tammy decided she could treat the ingredients sort of like a negroni. (See a version of the negroni here.)

“The cherry bounce, it’s a fruit based liqueur with botanicals and spices. That’s kind of like sweet vermouth. The coffee liqueur, kind of bitter, kind of like Campari. Then throw some gin in there,” she said.

But that might be a little heavy, so maybe just a splash of club soda. Scratch that.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Just a bit too much club soda. :(

“Then I thought what I really want to do is like a chocolate egg cream soda, a kind of classic soda fountain kind of thing,” she said. Add some egg white and maybe a little simple syrup and that club soda.

Now, she’s making the drink that’s only been in her head. She’s never tested it. That’s going to be up to me. It was okay, but I thought too much club soda. She tasted hers and agreed. She made a classic mistake.

She recently bought some new glasses at a yard sale. But they were actually just a little too big for this drink. So, she added a little more club soda to fill it.

“And this is a good lesson for people, right? Because so many recipes say top with club soda, but glass size really matters,” Tammy said.

It’s pretty easy to water down a drink if you don’t measure things properly. (She’s corrected that in the recipe below.)

That’s how the Torch Lake Tipple was developed. But Tammy wasn’t finished.

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio
Michigan Radio
Tammy Coxen shaking things up.

“I was getting ready to throw away the egg yolk and I thought, but wait, I know how much Lester likes a flip,” she said. Tammy has put an egg yolk in a few drinks, and I’m always a little wary. But, they’re always delicious, so, guinea pig, round two.

All the Mammoth ingredients were still out. The egg yolk was waiting. It took no time to make what became the Torch Lake Flip. It was really good. I think I like it a little more than the Torch Lake Tipple, but it’s a close call.

Torch Lake Tipple

1 oz gin (Mammoth Distilling)
1 oz cherry liqueur (Mammoth Distilling Cherry Bounce)
1 oz coffee liqueur (Mammoth Distilling)
1/2 oz simple syrup
1 egg white
2 oz club soda
Garnish: mint sprig

Combine all except club soda in shaker with ice. Shake for 10-15
seconds to chill. Strain cocktail off the ice, discard ice, and return
drink to shaker. Shake again without ice for 10-15 seconds, then pour
into a Collins glass containing a few ice cubes. Top with club soda.

Torch Lake Flip

1 oz gin (Mammoth Distilling)
1 oz cherry liqueur (Mammoth Distilling Cherry Bounce)
1 oz coffee liqueur (Mammoth Distilling)
1 egg yolk (could substitute a whole egg)
Garnish: nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake very well, 15-20
seconds, then strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish.

Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham are the authors of Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers from the University of Michigan Press. The book is based on the Cheers! episodes heard on Michigan Radio.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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