Maraschino cherries, or at least the artificially bright red super sweet cherries that are plunked into Manhattans and nestled atop ice cream sundaes, are polarizing.
They’re pretty, but their flavor is, at best, boring. Even as a kid, I tended to leave them uneaten.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Better versions of cocktail cherries exist. You can buy fancy Luxardo cherries, made with marasca cherries and soaked in a tart Maraschino liqueur syrup. They are delicious. And also expensive.
But, if you can find fresh cherries (or jarred cherries in syrup), you can also make your own.
I’ve learned, after trial and error with heavily spiced cocktail cherries, obscenely boozy bourbon-soaked cherries, and a few other missteps, that my favorite cherries to drop into cocktails are simple brandied cherries.
Sour cherries get pitted and then take a soak in a brandy-simple syrup. They still retain their natural cherry flavor, and they don’t muddy up a drink with spices that might not quite go.
They make a satisfying garnish to a thoughtfully made cocktail. And I never leave these at the bottom of the glass uneaten.
- 1 cup (200 grams) brandy
- 2/3 cup (150 grams) water
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
- 4 cups (600 grams) sour cherries, pitted
- Add the brandy, water, and sugar to a small saucepan and heat over medium until the sugar has dissolved.
- Fill two pint jars with the pitted cherries. Carefully pour the brandy syrup over the cherries until the cherries are covered with the liquid. Put lids on the jars and store in the refrigerator. Use to garnish drinks as desired.
- Cocktail Mixing Glass 500ml
- Cocktail Kingdom Teardrop Barspoon - Stainless Steel / 30cm
- Yarai Rocks Glass 7.5oz (225ml) / 6 Pack
- CherriesGreenbrier Morello Cherries 12.5 fl oz (Pack of 2)
- Luxardo, Gourmet Cocktail Maraschino Cherries 400G Jar (if you don't want to make your own)
- Bitters Triple Play Variety 3-Pack: Angostura, Peychauds and Regans
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 27 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 1mg Carbohydrates: 4g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 4g Protein: 0g