Macerated cherries4

Cherries have finally been in season long enough that the prices have dropped and it’s time to start making cocktail garnishes again. This year I’m starting with some basic macerated cherries.

Macerated cherries

This one is really easy: Just wash and pit a handful of cherries, put them in a jar, and cover with maraschino liqueur. Refrigerate for a few days and enjoy!

These are very good and also very unlike any cherry you’re accustomed to finding in your cocktails. They have a very strong alcohol flavor and while they get some amount of sweetness from the maraschino liqueur, compared to brandied or candied cherries, they hardly taste sweet at all. The flavor is what you would expect from maraschino — cherry combined with a touch of bitter almond.

Now that Luxardo cherries have been available for a year or so, things are looking much better on the cocktail garnish front. With a good supply of those on hand (expensive, but oh so worth it), it’s easier to just not bother making your own anymore. But if brandied cherries seem too much work (they really aren’t), you can always make up some of these. Pit, pour, and you’re basically done. And you’ve got something not quite as delicious as a Luxardo cherry, but probably a lot more interesting.

I plan to cook up a batch of maraschino cherries using a recipe similar to the brandied cherries recipe I wrote up last year, as well as a fresh batch of those brandied cherries as well. I wanted to try this out first though, hoping for something a bit more authentic, closer to what maraschino cherries were originally.

Comments 4 Comments So Far


These babies are fantastic, and a few words of advice:

* use only ‘perfect’ cherries, and not too ripe. Bruises will quickly turn mushy and brown, as will ultra-ripe fruit. They will taste great but look awful.
* You can only marinate them about 60~72 hours. After that the alcohol will leach the color out. They will taste great, but look awful. Definitely marinate them for more than 24 hours.
* warn your guests that they are getting a real, housemade garnish. Otherwise they will leave them in the glass and your work will wind up in the compost bucket.
* strain and re-use the maraschino liqueur.

I’ve been collecting recipes which involve some form of cooking, but I think those experiments will be for next year.

Kenn |

Good tips, thanks. I found that the color leeched out of mine very quickly — within a day. It doesn’t affect the taste though so you learn to live with it.

AlchemistGeorge |

I think I’ve done this with two varieties of dark red cherries – one was Bing – I didn’t get color leaching until after 48 hours … (where IS my notebook?).

Have you tried other brands of Maraschino Liqueur? We love Luxardo, and it ain’t cheap.

Kenn |

I’ve only had Luxardo maraschino, so that’s all I buy. Luckily, I don’t use it in large enough quantities that the price is a problem. Unlike, say, Cointreau, which I continue buying even though it’s expensive and I go through it much too quickly.