Recipe: A holiday drink with flair (and flare)

   Merlino’s Ristorante in Boca Raton boasts it has one of the top mixologists in the area — Lee Hoechstetter. The beverage manager, formerly of Tanzy in Boca Raton, is big on interactive drinks, and presents one that home bartenders can accomplish and will make a splash at the holidays.
    Following the Philadelphia theme of the Italian restaurant, Hoechstetter named the bourbon drink the “LCB Line” after the famous trio of hockey players who took the Flyers to a Stanley Cup victory.
    “It’s a smooth herbal bourbon cocktail with Luxardo cherries and a flamed marshmallow on top. The flaming marshmallow falls into the drink and gives it a smoky-sweet flavor. It’s a winner — that’s why the name.”
    Here’s the recipe — and Hoechstetter insists that to achieve the correct results, follow the stirring instructions precisely.

LCB Line
2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
1 ounce herbal syrup — see note
¾ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Cherry liqueur
For garnish:
2 Luxardo maraschino cherries per glass
1 marshmallow threaded on long skewer

    Pour drink ingredients to a cocktail shaker, and fill with ice. Stir a perfect 33 times. Strain mixture into a martini glass.
    To serve: Hang a duo of Luxardo cherries over rim of glass. Lay the marshmallow and skewer over the center of glass. Using a small kitchen torch or long lighter, ignite the marshmallow. Allow it to blacken and fall into drink.
    Makes 1 drink.
    For the herbal syrup, pack equal amounts of fresh basil leaves, cilantro leaves and mint leaves in a 16-ounce jar, crushing slightly with pestle to release leaf oils. Make a simple syrup using ½ cup each turbanado and white sugars added to 2 cups water. Bring to a simmer and boil for 10 minutes, stirring well to melt sugars. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Pour over packed leaves in jar, shake gently and seal. Refrigerate; use as needed in drinks.

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