Last year, Cheerwine celebrated its birthday with all the pomp and excitement that any hundred-year-old Southern staple deserves. And now, the Salisbury, North Carolina-based soft drink is kicking off its second century with some new ways to enjoy the old favorite, including a ready-for-spring, Cheerwine and bourbon glazed ham.
“In culinary circles, there’s always talk of pairings—What wine pairs well with this? What beer pairs well?—and Cheerwine, because of its deep fruit flavor, is one of those unique drinks that pairs well with food,” says Heidi Billotto, the Charlotte-area culinary expert who has created eight original recipes, such as baked wings and a chocolate mug cake, for Cheerwine. Her best tips for cooking with cherry-flavored cola: Always use the original formula, never diet, and don’t be afraid to experiment. “Take recipes you have at home that go well with fruit and substitute Cheerwine for the water or the chicken broth,” Billotto says. “See what happens.”
Recipe by Charlotte, North Carolina-based Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto
For the ham:
1 (10-12 lb) bone-in spiral-cut cooked ham
1 (12 oz) bottle of original Cheerwine
For the Cheerwine glaze:
1/3 cup sorghum syrup molasses
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1 ½ cups brown sugar
¼ cup dried ginger
1 cup North Carolina aged whiskey (we used TOPO Distillery Eight Oak Carolina Whiskey)
1 (12 oz) bottle original Cheerwine
Unwrap the ham and place on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan with the flat side down. Pour one bottle of Cheerwine over the entire ham. Cover the ham with foil, crimping the edges to seal.
Bake in a preheated 275-degree oven for 10-12 minutes per pound.
While the ham is baking, prepare the glaze by combining the sorghum syrup molasses, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, dried ginger, aged whiskey, and Cheerwine in a saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir well to blend and then reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to thicken, stirring occasionally. (The sauce may be made ahead of time.)
When the ham is heated through, remove the foil and gently separate the spiral cut slices just to allow enough space to pour the glaze. Slowly drizzle the glaze over the ham and in between each of the slices.
Bake the glazed ham, uncovered, in a preheated 425-degree oven for 8-10 minutes.
Remove the ham from the oven. Allow to stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with a side of chopped fresh pineapple.