In this series, we spotlight the boundless potential of a single ingredient.
New York City-based food, prop, home, and art stylist, Alison Attenborough, has crafted a unique cocktail with cherry blossoms. When the cherry branches were leftover after a shoot, Alison couldn’t bear to waste them since cherry blossoms symbolize Japanese beauty. They are full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and contain fatty acids that promote smooth and supple skin.
Chef: Alison Attenborough
3 go-to ingredients that double as immunity: Ginger, small pink grapefruits in season now, and kefir.
Must-have ingredient that delivers an energy boost: I love bee pollen on my morning kefir or toast and honey. Cherry extract also gives me energy.
Ultimate comfort food: Hot chocolate with rose and almond milk sweetened with a little maple sugar or syrup—sometimes made into chocolate pudding.
Favorite healing ingredient: Cherry elixir. It helps with the joints, inflammation, and includes tons of vitamin C.
Beauty mantra: Sleep/hydration/moisture, SHM (simple harmonic motion), and hats! I take vitamin D, but swear by a hat and sunscreen if in the sun.
This can be added to cake icings, cakes to flavor, fruit salads, and cocktails. You can also drink the vodka straight from the freezer or in a cocktail with Seltzer and lemon or lime since cherry blossoms have a slightly bitter almond flavor. You can also dry a handful of blossoms on a plate overnight in the sun to garnish. Store them in an airtight jar.
1 large bag of cherry blossoms— about 6 handfuls
750 ml botanical grain based vodka. I used my friend’s Kavka Vodka, which has notes of plum and apple. He recommends Belvedere or Absolute as other good options.
Rinse the blossoms. Dry on a clean dish towel. Fill a large storage jar with the blossoms and cover with the vodka. Seal the top and leave to macerate for 5 days. Strain back into the vodka bottle and store in the freezer. I also made a Sakura champagne cocktail with a splash of the extract, pink champagne, and a blossom for garnis
*Pro-tip: use the juice of the cured lemons as sweetener in your Ghia spritzes—there’s nothing like those natural fruit sugars to round out flavors!