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By Pink Lady
July in New England is officially cherry season (as the sweet red fruits are fleetingly abloom), and unofficially gin season (as we are wont to reach for white sprits in the warmer months here.) The Singapore Sling is king among classic cherry brandy and gin cocktails, but you might not have time for a drink made with 10 ingredients, nor might you want something so frothy and fruity. May I present to you: the Xanthia Cocktail from Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book, a spirit-forward aperitif style drink that could not be more different than the aforementioned fruity concoction.

Harry Craddock published this recipe in the 1930 edition of his cocktail tome as an equal parts drink made with gin, cherry brandy, and yellow Chartreuse meant to be shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. While we typically do not shake spirits (only drinks), I suspect this was an effort to dilute and chill the drink mightily. Two of the drink’s main players are sweet liqueurs: Cherry Heering, a cherry liqueur produced in Copenhagen since 1818, and yellow Chartreuse, a lower proof, honeyed, version of the original green Chartreuse, known for its yellow hue and sweeter flavor. Combined in equal parts with gin this drink runs the risk of being extremely sweet unless served properly diluted and very, very cold.

The Difford’s Guide offers a simple variation on Craddock’s technique, developed by contributor Jason Clapham, which is where I’d start if you wish to play around with it. Clapham adds water to the build and recommends stirring the drink with ice, which will leave the texture of this spirits-only drink intact. A silky, potently flavored cocktail such as this makes a great pre-dinner aperitivo, especially if served in an elegant Nick & Nora glass as recommended by the creator.
Cheers to cherries in your gin drinks!


2/3 ounce of London dry gin
2/3 ounce of Heering Cherry Liqueur
2/3 ounce of Yellow Chartreuse
2 dashes of Abbott’s bitters
1/4 ounce of chilled water

Stir ingredients with ice.
Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.
Garnish with a maraschino cherry.