We are running out of maraschino cherries, a crucial garnish for several bourbon cocktails, so we decided to try our hand at making our own substitute. Mighty Girl provided guidance.
8 oz. cherries
⅓ cup bourbon
Pit the cherries using a cherry pitter or by hand. We happen to have a grapefruit spoon that works well to scoop out the pit from the top of the cherry. Place the cherries in a canning jar (or any jar with tightly fitting lid) and fill with bourbon. Store the jar in the refrigerator for about a month, gently agitating it every day or so. That’s it!
Please note that the measurements above are approximate and can be adjusted depending on how many jars of bourbon cherries you want to make. We are really looking forward to using these cherries in cocktails, as an ice cream topping, and even just eating them straight from the jar.
Next time we may try mixing it up a bit by adding some Luxardo maraschino liqueur.
It’s finally starting to warm up here in Boston, and we wanted to feature a cocktail that can sustain you through the upcoming months of warmer weather. Lucky for us Crepes of Wrath got the summer itch before we did, so we followed their lead on this one.
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. maraschino liqueur
4-5 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
Shake all ingredients together with ice and strain into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with an orange twist and maraschino cherry.
This cocktail is a really lovely color. Even better, it is very easy to put together but the end result is so classy looking that it would make a great drink for social gatherings. This recipe could be easily adapted to pitcher quantities, as well.
We chose to use Wild Turkey 81 in this because we thought that since Luxardo is a light, fruity liqueur we would use a lighter bourbon that touts its utility for mixing. We were wrong. The low proof of this bourbon meant that the strong bitters and cherry flavor overtook the bourbon. We were left with the taste of bitters on our tongues and no other aftertaste. It was a little bit tiresome and not as nuanced of a cocktail as we were hoping for. If we had paid more attention, we would have noticed that Crepes of Wrath used a high proof bourbon. We are confident this drink would have been a much greater success if we had done the same.
I did not know these existed. I think of maraschino cherries as those bombs* that, when bitten, explode in your mouth with all sorts of wonderful chemical preservatives. Those things are gross. It’s also pretty much impossible to imagine making most cocktails without them.
Lucky for us, we live within walking distance of The Boston Shaker, a little shop that has pretty much every cocktail supply you might need for a home bar (besides the alcohol). That’s where I found Luxardo cherries. These are not your gross neon red cherries.
As you can see, they have a natural dark color. The syrup has a nice sweet flavor that adds a little richness to any cocktail, especially when you get to the bottom of your drink and drink up the cherry pulp.
*Cherry tangent: Rachel and I both graduated from Oregon State University, which is the birthplace of the “modern” maraschino. This fact is a strange source of pride for us, considering how gross they are. Maybe it’s because maraschinos are sitting on top of everything from your ice cream sundaes to your pineapple upside down cakes and at the bottom of your favorite drinks. Maybe it’s because OSU still has a maraschino class as part of its Food Science programs, a class that accompanies a Fermentation Science (that’s beer brewing to y’alls) option. Plus, it’s better to claim chemically altered fruit then a chemical agent wearing school colors.