If April is the cruelest month, according to Eliot, what are September and October? Shoulder season… With the end of summer, comes the inevitable slide into another New England winter, but I’m not giving in to darker spirits quite yet. However, the crisp daiquiris, gimlets and sidecars need a bit more weight… Welcome the Blackthorn Cocktail.

According to Ted Haigh (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails), the Blackthorn Cocktail is a very old cocktail, stretching back into the nineteenth century. The Blackthorn is the name of the shrub from which the sloe berry originates. The sloe berry is a plum-like fruit that goes into making the various sickly-sweet sloe gin cocktails. Fortunately Haigh’s recipe, a version popular near the turn of the century (1900) does not employ sloe gin and yet the cocktail does preserve a plumy flavor.

Perfect for shoulder season, the cocktail is light enough to refresh the palate, with just enough weight and complexity to provide a nice back drop to the just-turning leaves outside.

The Blackthorn Cocktail

2oz. Gin (Old Tom preferred)

3/4oz. Dubbonet Rouge

3/4oz. Kirschwasser

Stir in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cocktail cherry and a lemon twist.

(Originally posted on Facebook: October 1, 2011)