Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

50 Shots of America–Michigan

Talk to the Hand
Talk to the Hand

On the cruise last January one of the couples we shared our dinner table with was from Michigan. The demonstrated exactly where by holding up their right hand and using it as a visual aid. Apparently this is a regular thing for Michiganders as the lower peninsula does resemble a mitten. (The UP–Upper Peninsula–is sometimes considered the bridge.) Because of this, the name for today’s cocktail came before anything else:

Talk to the Hand

4 fresh Cherries, 3 stemmed
3/4 oz Vanilla Vodka
1/4 oz Kirschwasser
1.5 oz Ginger Ale*

Muddle the 3 stemmed cherries with the vodka and kirsch in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake like your trying to keep warm while ice-fishing. Add the ginger ale and stir a few times to combine and allow the ginger ale to cool, then strain into a chilled cordial glass. Garnish with the remaining cherry.

*Use Vernor’s for authenticity. Next best would be some ginger beer for flavor, last on the list being the dry-er (read as, less sweet) ginger ales from the grocery store. Still acceptable if that’s all you can find, though.

Even though the first European settlers of The Great Lakes State were French Catholics (a nice, peaceful trio of Jesuit missions that actually got along fairly well with the Native Americans of the time) who helped establish the peninsula as a major fur-trading center, Germans have become the largest single ancestral group in the centuries since then. They’re also the largest producer of cherries in the country–hence the kirsch.

My research turned up the fun fact that a Michigan pharmacist was the guy behind Vernor’s ginger ale. Thanks to progress you can find it outside it’s original area (even down here in Florida from time to time). What made Vernor’s different was the extra fizziness, the sweet taste and the souped-up  ginger taste. It was even an integral part of the ice cream soda known as the Boston Cooler (which has nothing to do with town in Massachusetts): ice cream and Vernor’s. Yum!

Jennifer Walker
Jennifer Walker

  1. Question for the spirits expert:

    (not related to Michigan)

    My friend is moving away and gave me two bottles of Chartreuse liqueur. She said a friend who moved away gave her the bottles. One bottle is greenish and the other bottle, more yellowish.

    I just looked at the bottle and it’s a French liqueur made by monks from 130 alpine herbs.

    Says to drink with tonic water or club soda in a tall glass and a lemon or lime wedge. Maybe later.

    Do you have any recommendations?

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