Sunday, May 6, 2012

Wines of the Giro Stage 2: Denmark: Herning and Heering

Herning to Herning 206 Km

A loop from Herning out to the sea and back, this is a typical early race flat stage, designed to lead to a bunch sprint at the end. For the non-cycling fans, this generally translates in a group of riders going out ahead for most of the day in "the break," while the rest of the peloton rides together. Eventually, the teams with sprinters (really fast and explosive riders) work to catch the break and set up a group finish where they attempt to set up their guy for the win. Occasionally they mistime this and someone from the break wins, but usually not.
Today the riders rode west out of Herning before turning north along the coast, then east and finally south, back towards Herning. There were pre-race concerns about wind, but it turned out be a relatively calm day. The other pre-race concern was general opening days of a Grand Tour nerves, coupled with a right turn 500 metres from the line. 
As expected, we had a doomed early break, followed by a solo attack from Lars Bak that was clearly going nowhere. Things seemed to be setting up for the expected sprint finish, until the Maglia Rosa (race leader), Taylor Phinney had a bike problem. After a few kilometers of drama, Phinney did get back to the group, making the finishing sprint the focus. And, sure enough we had excitement. First up, a not unexpected crash, slightly behind the main group of sprinters. Then came the sprint and Mark Cavendish won easily, with his trademark charge up the middle.

Stage winner:Mark Cavendish
Maglia Rosa:Taylor Phinney

The wine: Well, not exactly. As I had trouble sourcing Danish wine, I've opted for: Heering

The bottle and my High Hat.

What, you may ask, is Heering? Well, Imbibe Magazine tells me: "Created by Peter Heering and produced in Denmark since 1818, Cherry Heering is a ruby-red liqueur made by soaking lightly crushed Danish cherries and a blend of spices in neutral grain spirits, then cask-maturing the mixture for up to five years, adding sugar during the aging process. With an elaborate complexity of flavor that places its character closer to that of gâteau than of Ho-Ho, Cherry Heering reclaims the taste of cherries from the candy-colored impostors.
 Useful in many cocktail recipes wherever cherry brandy is called for. . .  Cherry Heering has a rich flavor that adds depth to a number of drinks, such as the brandy-based Ulysses, the classic gin-based Singapore Sling and the scotch-based Blood and Sand."

So clearly, a cocktail was called for. Although I considered both the Singapore Sling and the Blood & Sand, I found something listed in the San Francisco Chronicle's Cocktalian archive that called to me: The High Hat. 

High Hat Cocktail

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 1/2 ounces straight rye whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Cherry Heering
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 maraschino cherry, for garnish (I skipped the garnish)
Instructions: Combine all ingredients, except garnish, in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add the garnish, if used.

I say: This is a cocktail that hits my sweet spot of rye and citrus with just enough Heering to add color and a bit of sweetness. I tip my hat to it.


  1. Nice idea - wines of the Giro... for me at least as a wine loving cyclist or cycling wino...which ever way you look at it.

    Shame they've put a spanner in the works kicking off above the Rhine divide in wine-less Denmark but well done on locating s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g kinda relevant.

    Booze may impair vision but audio is heightened by Heering Aid.

  2. Thanks for stopping by. It is a fun project.