First this. Apparently Maraschino is pronounced “Maras-KEE-no.”
Secondly: You can actually make these yourself so that they are not the toxic faux cherry product made with lots of high-fructose corn syrup and Red Dye #4.
So while no, these are not the pretty red cherries you steal from the bartender when he’s not looking, they’re a whole lot better for you.
Bonus points for being alcoholic too. They’ll take your cocktail over the top. But keep the kids away unless you want them in bed early.
Worth the effort? I’d say so. Recipe after the jump.
Here’s what you need:
1 lb pitted cherries. (traditionally sour cherries are used, but any fresh cherry is fine. But since the point of this exercise it to make your own and impress your friends, probably don’t want to use canned cherries.
(NOTE on pitting: If you don’t have a cherry pitter (and who does?) wear a shirt that you don’t care that much about. There will be red things…since you’re going to stand over a sink and squeeze the pits out of those puppies. If you want a less, ah, rustic look, you’ll just have to pop for a pitter.
- 12 fl oz of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur (this is your biggest expense: $30 at BevMo!)
- 1 or 2 fl oz of fresh lemon juice
- 2 to 4 oz of sugar – depending upon how sweet you want these cherries to be.
- Water as needed to cover pitted cherries (just enough liquid to make sure all cherries simmer)
1 or 2 cinnamon sticks
a few cloves
a few whole allspice
A sterile glass jar and lid
Heat liqueur, lemon juice, sugar and spices until sugar has melted. Add the washed, pitted cherries and bring to temperature, dropping to simmer. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes, then take off heat. Let cool, then divide into sterile glass container, seal and place in refrigerator to macerate, which is a fancy word for blend.
You can start eating these anytime, but they get better as they, erm, macerate. And don’t forget to remove the herbs before serving.
Thanks to the chef for the details. More cherry fun TK!
Image courtesy of the awesome CupcakeProject.