The Brandenburg

We’re commemorating the dedication Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in true A&R fashion: with a cocktail (and score)! On March 24, 1721 Bach gave us six concertos that would become benchmarks of Baroque music. On March 24, 2019 we’re returning the favor with a delicious Black Forest twist on a classic Manhattan.

The Brandenburg is a hearty and festive triumvirate of cherry, chocolate, and bourbon inspired by German Black Forest cake and Doppelbock beers, as well as Bach’s penchant for all things “three.”

Velvety, bittersweet crème de cacao and Kirshwasser (a cherry brandy from Germany’s Black Forest region) were selected to add subtle chocolate and cherry undertones to the sweet, oaky bourbon base. These three spirits combine to create a cocktail delightfully reminiscent of a Black Forest cake, without entering into dessert cocktail territory. Like a rich and weighty German Doppelbock, the Brandenburg’s sweetness is perfectly balanced by a touch of bitterness, provided here by the chocolate and cherry liqueurs, resulting in a joyous and robust blend of flavors.

Chocolate bitters were added to entice the nose, hinting at vanilla and cinnamon, and a dash of Cherry Heering for an extra pop of sweet cherry flavor. A brandied cherry garnish was the perfect finishing touch to harken back to the classic Manhattan cocktail and complete another Bachian set of three.

The Brandenburg is a simple, everyday cocktail that (much like the music of Bach) is timeless, sophisticated, and spirit forward.


Yield: 1 cocktail


  • 2 ounces bourbon

  • 1/2 ounce crème de cacao

  • 1/2 ounce Kirschwasser

  • 1/4 ounce Cherry Heering

  • 1 dash chocolate bitters

  • 1 brandied cherry garnish


Stir ingredients with ice until well chilled, strain into a small coupe glass, and enjoy while listening to one of the joyous and hearty Brandenburg concertos!

Note: much of the drink’s sweetness comes from the Cherry Heering. Tread cautiously if you happen to be sweet-adverse; you can always add more after testing.