Why Bartenders Love this 200-year-old Danish Liqueur

Photo: Karalee Te Riini, Location: Wellington, New Zealand, Bar: Hawthorn Lounge, Drink: Lovers and Frans (by Margaret Pattillo)

Eleven bartenders wait, nervously, in a tiny London pub for their turn at the bar. They’ve worked for the past year and a half to develop a concoction that features 200-year-old Danish liqueur, Cherry Heering, for a panel of industry legends at the 2018 Peter F. Heering Classic. Among the judges, sitting inches from the contenders’ shakers, is one of the world’s most renowned bartenders, Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff, the man credited with launching the cocktail revolution. By DeGroff’s example, bartenders have skyrocketed to global celebrity, some devoting their lives to a suddenly respectable profession. But the ones that rise to the top understand that a winning drink is more than just how good it tastes. “The best cocktails are the ones where everything comes together,” says DeGroff. “The theme, the story, the deliciousness, they nail it like a neat little package.”

Photo: Left- Arthur Sutley; Nightlife and Hospitality expert. Right- Iconic Bar Legend Dale De Groff (By Margaret Pattillo)

In this 200th anniversary competition, participants had to turn their interpretation of a modern classic into a timeless, yet unique cocktail showcasing the cherry liqueur. And for bartenders, using Cherry Heering was the easy part. “Cherry Heering is clearly loved by bartenders,” notes Mark de Witte, CEO of De Kuyper Royal Distillers, the brand’s parent company. Though the beverage is by no means a newcomer, in its 200th year, it’s officially cool again. And not because it needs to shine on the bar, but because bartenders actually use it.

Photo: Maria Damgaard Andersen, Location: København K, Denmark, Bar: Y’s Café & Cocktailbar, Drink: Cherry Bomb, (by Margaret Pattillo)

Cherry Heering is the one bottle Bar Business Magazine publisher Art Sutley can’t live without. “Its versatility is awesome,” says Sutley. “You can put it in champagne or a nine-ingredient cocktail.”

Photo: Left to Right- Mark de Witte, CEO, De Kuyper Royal Distillers, Iconic Bar Legend Dale De Groff, Winner Odd Strandbakken, Laura Schacht, Cherry Heering, Global Cocktail Training and Advocacy Manager (by Margaret Pattillo)

This year’s winner of the Peter F. Heering Classic, Odd Strandbakken, is no stranger to the liqueur. It’s a mainstay at his Oslo bar, Himkok, named among the 2018 World’s 50 Best Bars. He’s been mixing drinks since he was less than 10-years-old—though he began without using alcohol, so relying on the retro taste of Cherry Heering was a natural fit. Make Strandbakken’s winning cocktail, Pavoni, at home with this recipe:

Pavoni

Ingredients:

  • 30ml Cherry Heering
  • 30ml Fino Sherry
  • 10ml Maraschino Liqueur
  • 10ml Angostura di Amaro
  • 4 dashes Angostura orange bitters
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