Meet me in Milano: Stolen cherries and a kiss at aperitivo hour. 

Recipe and Image by Tash McGill

As a lover of Old Tom style gin and vermouth – Coromandel Mānuka Gin inspires me with lush honeyed notes and a powerful, moreish botanical complexity of oranges and vanilla, the semi-sweet aromatic. The last of summer cherries and bittersweet blood orange had me imagining Italian piazzas, long drinks and romantic interludes.

I love the local influence of both mānuka wood and honey on this gin, which reminds me of the traditional techniques for making vermouth – aging botanical infused wine and spirit on wood. So I

took some cherries, some Pinot Noir and boiled it down to a syrup, removing all alcohol but leaving a rich, pip-fruit forward character. Imagine this as my ode to vermouth – Awildian Mānuka Gin, cherries and pinot, finished with Fever-Tree Italian Blood Orange Soda. Candied oranges are balanced with honey, tart cherry and body from Central Otago Pinot Noir (Two Paddocks, actually!). Bittersweet perfection rounded with gorgeous mānuka. An Italian-New Zealand love affair in a tribute to the Mi-To, the Milano-Torino – the original vermouth cocktail.

45ml Cherry-Pinot syrup
Fever-Tree Italian Blood Orange Soda


Fill a chilled rocks glass with large cubes of ice, then add gin, Cherry-Pinot syrup and stir down til at temperature. Add Fever-Tree Italian Blood Orange soda. Garnish with a cherry from your syrup prep!.

1 cup / 250g halved cherries, pips removed. (alternatively, used tinned cherries but drain and rinse!)
1 cup Pinot Noir
2 tablespoons white sugar

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring gently until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for another ten minutes, until reduced. Pour into a 500ml jar or vessel and cover. Let cherries soak as they make a great garnish. Will keep for 1 week in the fridge.

About the Author

Vicki Ravlich-Horan

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