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Homemade "Maraschino" Cherries for my Manhattan

Just finished the jar of store bought Maraschino cherries, but I'd like to make my own now. I'm not looking to replicate the Maraschino, I just want a good tasting cherry for my Manhattan. I have a bottle of Cherry Heering, and a bag of frozen "Dark Sweet Cherries". Can I just put them together? Add some Almond extract? Any better ideas? Thanks.

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  1. They are easy and delicious to make on your own—you'll never go back to neon red store-bought cherries again.

    Maraschino liqueur would be the traditional mixer, but Cherry Heering should fit the bill: combine cherries & liqueur in a mason jar and store up one month in the fridge. Warning: since there's no added sugar and more alcohol than in grocery store cherries, these pack a punch.

    There's also a different, more sweet, brandied cherries recipe on our site: http://www.imbibemagazine.com/recipes...

    1 Reply
    1. When they're in season, I load up on fresh sour cherries, pit them, and steep them in maraschino liqueur. I've kept them in the fridge for months and they're just fine. I've also put up regular sweet cherries in bourbon, but sweet cherries--for some reason--swell and discolor in a way that the sour cherries don't. And IMHO they aren't as good as the sour ones in a Manhattan.

        1. Here's a recipe for bourbon-soaked cherries, that starts with dried cherries, which might give it a nice deep flavor vs. the sweet funky cherries you get pre-packed in the store:


          1. I just finished doing the exact same thing. They are a little addictive and really delicious in an old fashioned or a manhattan. I also made a dorky little label too... You could swap the maraschino in my recipe for cherry heering; they are pretty similar.

            4 Replies
            1. re: testkitchenandbar

              First, awesome label. I love its graphic simplicity and your choice of fonts and typestyles.

              Its interesting that your cherries are infused for only a week. I made my version of the recipe suggested by StriperGuy and I found that I really only started to like them after about a year. They suffered from too much spice, too strong a rye flavor, too much anise-related spice, and too little sugar. All these are I'm sure my fault, not the recipe's fault. Your recipe is simpler (just one spice) and relied on liqueurs. I hadn't thought of using frozen cherries. I used fresh and tried both blanched and not. I found the unblanched ones were too firm for cocktail use until they were aged a long time, at which point the difference diminished.

              I would say, however, that Maraschino liqueur and Cherry Heering are nothing at all alike. I personally would keep the funky Maraschino out of the cherry recipe in order to make them be more flexible. One lesson from my first attempt was that a highly spiced cherry limits the drinks it can go into. Plunking a rye/anise cherry into a tiki cocktail isn't ideal.

              I hope that StriperGuy will comment since he's done a lot of experimenting. I am still using up last years supply, but eventually I'll need another batch. I think if I make them more accessible, I'll use them up faster.

              I am still looking for "reference quality" cherry recipe to publish in the ingredient article about maraschino cherries.

              www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

              1. re: EvergreenDan

                Hmmmm, I hear ya.

                I really feel you could spice them 20 ways. I agree mine got even tastier after 6-12 months.

                Mine ended up clovey, star anisey which I really liked in a tiki drink.

                I do think you could come up with a pretty tasty cherry pretty fast in cherry heering. What's not to like?

                Bet you could also do something good with in kirschwasser.

                I kinda like the more complex spicy funkiness, but think with just Heering, and some (brine blanched and rinsed) cherries and then straight into some cherry heering you would end up with something pretty respectable.

                Think it would still take 3 months plus for the cherries to really get saturated with the nice strong Heering flavor...

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Of course there's something weird about taking a liqueur made by infusing a fruit and infusing that back into the fruit. Seems traif. ;)

                  Not sure about kirschwasser. It's pretty funky, doesn't taste much of cherry fruit, and the good stuff is pretty expensive.

                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                    "something weird about taking a liqueur made by infusing a fruit and infusing that back into the fruit. Seems traif. ;)"

                    agreed, I guess you end up with cherry flavored cherries.

                    "kirschwasser. It's pretty funky, doesn't taste much of cherry fruit, and the good stuff is pretty expensive." I love grappa, slivovitz, etc. etc, but agree you'd be better off with the heering.

            2. This recipe appeared in the NY Times a few years ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/18/din...

              I've made it a couple of times and like it a lot.