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Bartender Diaries: Cherry-O Baby by Patrick Riley


Editor’s Note: This is the first in a regular series of articles about bartenders (both professional and home enthusiasts) and the inspirations behind their creations. We are delighted to share their stories! Interested in sharing yours? Simply email us at unchartedwine@gmail.com!


Patrick Riley is the Lead Bartender at Balance Restaurant in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He takes particular delight in seeking out undiscovered spirits to create new cocktails for Balance’s award-winning cocktail menu, and also develops and presents spirit education classes. He also took the photo of the cocktail.


On the creation of the Cherry-O Baby, Patrick states, “I was behind the bar last Friday and a server told me one of her guests has requested a “fruity, girly drink.” I had recently prepared a cherry simple syrup with the intention of using it as an ingredient in next month’s charity mocktail offering but I hadn’t incorporated it into a cocktail yet. I wouldn’t serve something I wouldn’t drink so I wasn’t about to make a cloyingly over-sweet drink. I remembered the cherry simple and knew it would pair well with amaretto. Kutskova, a Russian five times distilled vodka would be the perfect base for the flavors. (I was fortunate to find Kutskova through a rep from Vintage Imports. A great product at an unbelievable price point). The cherry simple and house made orgeat would provide the sweetness the guest requested but needed to be balanced. A few drops of Angostura Cocoa Bitters provided the necessary balance while complimenting the cherry-nuttiness of the basic ingredients.”


Recipe: Cherry-O Baby


Editor’s Note: You can buy store bought cherry syrup and orgeat, but they are easy to make at home, and keep for weeks in the fridge. Recipes for each are linked below. At all costs, avoid cheap orgeat!


1oz vodka (Patrick uses Kutskova, but any premium vodka would do if unavailable in your region)

1oz amaretto

1oz cherry simple syrup

.5oz orgeat

2 dashes Angostura cocoa bitters


Link: Orgeat Syrup

Link: Cherry Simple Syrup

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