If you've ever needed a reason to howl at the moon, I've got a delicious one for you! August 15 is the annual Chant at the Moon Day created by the growers of the "Half Mile Closer to the Moon Cherries." We have many fruits to be boastful of here in Washington State - apples, peaches, amazing grape varietals that yield so many award-winning wines - and cherries, to name just a few. What makes these Moon Cherries so special? They are grown literally a half-mile closer to the moon at elevations 2,500-3,500 feet above sea level. According to Stemilt legend, harvesting the cherries just before the full moon "makes them sweeter and more complex in flavor because the tree’s roots are benefitting from the extra gravitational pull from the moon." We just love geeking out on stuff like that! Whether it's true or not, these dark red beauties are packed with flavor and exceptionally diverse from both a cooking and baking perspective. Toss them in salads, reduce them into a decadent sauce to pour over sweet or savory dishes (they are equally delicious spooned over roast pork loin as they are over vanilla bean ice cream!), baked into pies or a classic French clafoutis, or simply pop them into your mouth one after another.
I created this quick and easy shrub recipe featuring plump with sweetness Moon Cherries, apple cider vinegar, and a splash of spirits. There's no need to cook down the fruit, vinegar, and sugar into a syrup (though if you have the time, go for it). Just muddle, splash, sip, and enjoy!
Chant at the Moon Cherry Shrub Cocktail
Makes one cocktail
6 cherries, pitted
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (ACV)
1 teaspoon sugar (or sweetener of your choice), or to taste
1 shot gin or vodka (omit for a mocktail)
Rosemary, mint, or basil to garnish
Pit the cherries and place them in a cocktail shaker. Add the apple cider vinegar and sugar and muddle until juicy yet still containing some chunks.
Taste and adjust ACV and/or sweetener to taste.
Fill a cocktail glass with ice and stir in the alcohol and cherry mixture. Top with sparkling water, give the drink a gentle stir, then garnish with a sprig of fresh herb and a cherry.
Best enjoyed while sitting outside with the sun gently kissing your skin (don't forget your sunscreen).
Read more about moon day and some amazing cherry trivia here!