Cocktail Cherries

Susannah Brinkley | Feast + West

Homemade cocktail cherries are just the thing your bar needs. From old-fashioneds to manhattans, these boozy fruits beat out the neon maraschino cherries for the best cocktail garnish.

Maraschino cherries were never my favorite.

When I was a kid, my family would often visit the Chinese restaurant owned by our neighbors for dinner.

Our neighbor knew I loved to sip on Shirley Temples and he would always bring me one of those ruby beauties before I could order it (along with my childhood standby, sweet and sour chicken).

Cocktail Cherries Photo

The sparkling 7-Up paired with sweet cherry syrup was always such a treat... until I got to the maraschino cherry at the bottom, that is.

I always promptly ordered another Shirley Temple and handed the empty glass with the cherry over to my dad. He would always eat the cherry, then show off his ability to tie the stem into a knot with only his tongue, much to my delight. (It might sound weird, but oh, the days without cell phones, where this kind of trick could keep a kid entertained!)

Cocktail Cherries Picture

Shun Lee Palace is still around, but our old neighbors sold it a while back. I haven’t been in years but when I drive by, I always wonder if they’d still make me a Shirley Temple. Am I too old? I digress.

Maraschino cherries are still my nemesis, though. The bright color is so off-putting and the taste reminds me of cough syrup.

While cocktails definitely have a medicinal history, being served swigs of cough syrup is a memory I’d like to forget.

Cocktail Cherries Image

I’ll never forget my disgust at my very first old-fashioned cocktail, with one of those disgust orbs squished into the bottom of the glass. Still grosses me out!

I learned to like fresh cherries as a teen, and they’re something I love to snack on today. I love making my own cocktail cherries from them, and even my own booze — especially Cherry Bounce, which is Martha Washington’s recipe. It’s amazing and the results are always decidedly less neon, because they’re all-natural with no food coloring. Yes!

Homemade cocktail cherries are truly easy to make. Got cherries? Got booze? Got sugar? You’re all set. Get out a saucepan and some jars, and you’re ready to roll.

Cocktail Cherries Pic

What kind of alcohol is in homemade cocktail cherries?

You can use any kind of alcohol in homemade cocktail cherries. Brandy and bourbon are common, but you can even make them with vodka, rum or tequila.

Whichever type of alcohol you soak them in will yield a different effect for your cocktails, but to me, that’s the fun of being a home bartender. You do you!

Store them in an airtight container like a jar. You can even can them if you have the tools. They’ll last for about a month in the fridge once opened. If you want to go this route, check out these canning tips.

File 1 - Cocktail Cherries

What can you make with cocktail cherries?

So much! Use it wherever you feel like you need a little fruity garnish. Manhattans and old-fashioneds are a great place to start.

You can also use the syrup in baking — these cherry marshmallows are delicious. 

Really, anywhere you’d use a maraschino cherry is perfect for these cocktail cherries!

File 2 - Cocktail Cherries

Oh, and if you want a grown-up version of my favorite Shirley Temple, this Dirty Shirley will do the trick!

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Cocktail Cherries

    32 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups Brandy, rum or bourbon
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2-3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 4 cups Pitted Cherries
  • 2 1-inch pieces Orange Peel

Directions

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add your alcohol, water and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, fill a 2-pint jar or two 1-pint jars with the pitted cherries and orange zest. Top with the syrup.

Cover and store in the refrigerator and use within one month. If preferred, you can also use canning jars.

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Category:
Cocktails
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Related Recipes:
Cocktail Recipes, Drink Recipes, Cherry Recipes, Homemade Recipes, Homemade Gift Recipes
Recipe Yields:
4 cups
Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Total Time:
Related Post:
Published:
Author: Susannah Brinkley
Recipe Yields: 4 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Nutrition Facts

Servings Per Recipe 32

Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat 0
Calories 36

% Daily Value*
0%
Total Fat 0g
0%
  Saturated Fat 0g
0%
Sodium 0mg
2%
Total Carbohydrate 7g
0%
  Dietary Fiber 0g
  Sugars 5g
0%
Protein 0g

* Percent Daily Value are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
** Nutrition Facts are estimated based on ingredients and data provided by Fat Secret. Please consult a doctor if you have special dietary needs.
Susannah Brinkley

About Susannah

Susannah is known for her delectable recipes on her blog Feast + West. Here at Food Fanatic, she's sharing her favorite homemade cocktails.