A food review by Daniel B.
Food is starting to suck. Or perhaps I should say a generation of Americans are learning how to suck their food out of a pouch. This is not a good trend.
Food, especially fruit, should be enjoyed for what it is. There is pleasure to be gained in gazing upon the colors and patterns of an apple’s skin, the sound of biting into the fruit and the feeling of its juice upon your lips.
But fresh whole fruit isn’t available all year round. These early days of spring are a stark reminder that while the earth is coming back to life with wild ramps and tender young greens, it’s going to be a while before the fruit of summer arrives.
This is just one of the reasons why Cheribundi’s Tru Cherry juice is so exciting, since it provides a taste of fresh summer fruit when there aren’t tart cherries to be found anywhere.
I have little interest in the health claims of the manufacturer. You know what is a super fruit? All of them. Of course, I’m no nutritionist. But each fruit is super in its own way. Some have lots of vitamin C and others may contain phytonutrients. I’ve said for a long time that nobody can be sad when eating a perfectly ripe, juicy peach.
Tart cherries are super because they taste awesome. They have a flavor profile for those who enjoy a little complexity and tannin with their fruit. And they are my preferred stone fruit for jams, pies and clafoutis. I’ll even occasionally garnish a cocktail with maraschino liqueur infused dried sour cherry.
Cheribundi is marketed as a sports recovery drink and is used by professional teams in every major sport. But I enjoy it because it’s delicious.
Not only is the color a deep, vivid crimson. But the flavor is remarkably clean and focused on the puckering tart cherry experience. There is a little apple juice thrown in so that the sweet-tart juice is slightly less bracing.
With its taste and appearance, Cheribundi wouldn’t feel out of place poured into a wine glass and served alongside hearty fare like duck or venison.
It even works well in cocktails.
The juice is produced in Geneva at the Cornell Food and Agriculture Technology Park, which is sometimes also called the Technology Farm. Most of their cherries come from upstate New York and the process for reducing fifty tart cherries into an eight ounce beverage was developed by research scientists at Cornell University. So it’s only fitting that the Cornell Daily Sun created a cocktail with the product.
Their tart cherry variation of the collins sounds a bit bracing. If you attempt it, you might want to try a little simple syrup.
Or you could try a twist off the old fashioned that starts with Ironweed bourbon made in Albany. Pour two ounces of bourbon into your mixing tin, followed by one ounce of Cheribundi, and one half ounce of maraschino liqueur. Add one dash of Fee Brothers rhubarb bitters, a handful of ice, and stir.
When summer does roll around and you have plenty of whole tart cherries to eat out of hand, you still might consider picking up a bottle of Cheribundi to make a tart granita. Because while whole fruit may be better than juice, bursting intensely flavored crystals of partially frozen juice with your tongue in the heat of July may be better than either.
About Daniel B.
A west coast transplant now living in Albany, Daniel Berman is applying his communication strategy background to food writing with the ultimate goal of improving the culinary landscape in the Capital Region. He writes the FUSSYlittleBLOG and contributes regularly to All Over Albany.