Friday, February 11, 2011

Maraschino Cherries

I love cocktails. One of my particular favorites is Manhattan. A regular, a perfect, one with extras like orange bitters and a dash of Luxardo. The pit in the cherry, if you'll excuse me for putting it that way, is what passes for a maraschino cherry these days. Nasty.

Now, you can shell out $18.00 or so for a jar from Luxardo, but they're sweet cherries, and syrupy. I'm all for sour cherries...but they're difficult to come by, in or out of season.

On Tuesday I dropped by a local big box store and hit the jackpot. They had sour cherries in light syrup. This means that the cherries are still tart, and the "syrup" is more like cherry juice. We have a bottle of Luxardo, of course.

There are a number of recipes up on the web. The most simple is from the NY Times. In 2007 they recommended getting a jar of the same cherries I used today, and marinating them in Luxardo. Easy, but not quite the thing, to my way of thinking. I didn't want them to be so boozy that they would overwhelm a drink.

Luxardo Cocktail Cherries

(1) 24 oz. glass jar of sour cherries in light syrup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water (or juice from the packed cherries)
1 tbl. lemon juice
1 cinnamon stick
1 dash freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup Luxardo maraschino liqueur

Combine everything except the cherries and liqueur. Bring mixture to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium and add the cherries; simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat; stir in liqueur.

These can be simply stored in the refrigerator as is, but I chose to can mine. I used three 8 oz. jelly jars, and processed two of them for 20 minutes in a water bath; I put the third in to chill. They'll be gone soon enough!

I got a bonus from these canned cherries. The remainder of liquid from simmering with the cherries, added to some more lemon juice and the rest of the juices/syrup from the jar, was enough to make two 4 oz. jars of spiced cherry jelly. (Roast duck, here I come.)


SusieQT said...

Sounds wonderful. I've been dreaming of homemade maraschino cherries for a long time. I'll see if I can find some of those cherries around here- what was the brand name?

Eileen said...

The brand is "Sophia"; imported to Brooklyn, NY from Turkey. The ingredients are (in this order!): cherries, water, sugar.

Batty said...


Eileen said...

They've tasted better each day I've sampled one. This recipe is worth the time.