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The Four

Luca Mariano Distillery: Very Cherry Cocktails

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We are missing out on the National Cherry Festival this year, but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate the fantastic fruit – and that includes cocktails. ‘The Four’s Michelle Dunaway meets up with a Michigan native bourbon maker who shows us how we can incorporate Michigan cherries into some delicious drinks. 

In 2010, Francesco S. Viola was inspired to start distilling as a hobby after inheriting his grandfather’s antique distiller. And, what started as something to just pass the time, turned into something much more. Since dabbling in distilling, Viola has created a successful family business, and now creates his fine liquor where the best bourbon is made – Danville, Kentucky. Read more about his story .

Viola’s brand, has many different of bourbons including the Old Americana Bourbon and Luca Mariano Rye Whiskey flavors. This year he recently released the limited edition of Francesco S. Viola Signature Single Barrel Bourbon that features a mild cherry and brown sugar nose. There are still other bourbons in the works, but for now, their selection is premium to be served as is, or in mixed drinks.

Here are some ways to enjoy the Luca Mariano brand. For more recipes from the Luca Mariano, .

Old Fashioned w/Cherries

  • 2 oz Old Americana Bourbon or Luca Mariano Rye
  • 1 tsp Water
  • ½ tsp Sugar
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 tsp of Juice from Muddled Michigan Cherries
  • Add the sugar, bitters, muddled cherry juice, and water into a rocks glass, and stir until sugar is nearly dissolved. Fill the glass with large ice cubes, add the bourbon, and gently stir to combine the flavors. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Bourbon & Cherry Iced Tea

  • 2 oz Old Americana Bourbon or Luca Mariano Rye
  • 4 Cherries Halved and Pitted
  • 1 oz Fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz simple syrup
  • Unsweetened iced tea, to top
  • Add cherries and lemon juice into a mixing glass and gently muddle. Add the syrup and bourbon, fill the glass with ice, and shake until well-chilled. Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a mint sprig and skewered cherries.

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