Something sparkling reddish and cheery in your cocktail glass is always welcome this time of year. While your guests may not know whether to sip or spoon this Vintage Cherry Almond Cocktail, it’s so deliciously unexpected, they won’t care.
I found the original recipe, Stuffed Cherry Cocktail, in the Appetizer section of one of my very favorite vintage cookbooks – New Delights from the Kitchen by Kelvinator – “the finest electric refrigerator ever built,” copyright 1930. It is the equivalent of today’s glossy appliance promotional brochure; but this is a small hard cover book beautifully printed (in color!) on thick high-quality paper stock. It contains this very funny promotional slogan:
“Kelvinator truly adds glamour and romance to homemaking! It takes the nerve racking rush out of big dinners and the everyday grind out of small ones.”
Some of the recipes: Stuffed Eggs in Tomato Jelly, Fish Flake Souffle, Frozen Chicken al la King (“Turn a can of chicken a la king into a Kelvinator tray and freeze; slice and serve on lettuce leaves garnish with mayonnaise. Very nice luncheon dish in warm weather.”) Serving salads, appetizers and even main dishes upon a lettuce leaf is a common theme in the book.
The cherry cocktail caught my eye because I’m a huge fan of any recipe combining the perfectly matched flavors of cherry and almond. This recipe also had a most interesting preparation method of stuffing almond paste into cherries and then dousing them with strawberry juice (yes circa 1930, I guess strawberry juice was sold in cans.) I was also intrigued that this “cocktail” seems more like a dessert than an appetizer – or even a libation. But according to the instructions, this very sweet small dish was to be served as a precursor to dinner in a cocktail glass with a spoon. How odd!
I served it as an appetizer with some fresh cheeses and a glass of juicy pinot noir to a dear friend; the cherry flavors of fruit and the wine were surprisingly complimentary. But my friend and I brainstormed that it would be deliciously “glamorous” when served with a pour of vodka or amaretto or especially with the sparkle of champagne! Deanna also prepared this vintage dish (and photographed it beautifully) with cocktail picks – I didn’t use the picks and just nestled the cherries in a vintage short-stemmed cocktail glass. Regardless, I did find it added “a little romance to homemaking!”
Vintage Cherry Almond Cocktail
4-5 tablespoons almond paste
1 package frozen pitted cherries, thawed just until icy, but still firm (or 1 pound fresh cherries)
1 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Vodka or amaretto or sparkling wine if desired
1.Roll pieces of almond paste into small balls that will fit into the whole in cherries and stuff all cherries.
2. In a cocktail shaker, mix juice with powdered sugar and vodka/amaretto if desired to taste.
3. Fill vintage cocktail glasses with a few cherries; pour juice mixture over top. Garnish with cocktail stick for spearing cherries.
Do ever cook from vintage cookbooks? Do you have a favorite cocktail recipe for the holidays?