Growing up I used to love Shirley Temples, and my favorite part of the drink was the maraschino cherry. When I was a little kid my grandpa always had a jar of the super sweet, bright red cherries in his fridge, which I thought was so that he could make me an ice cream sundae at the drop of a hat, but was probably so that he could make someone a cocktail….

As I got older I still loved the idea of a maraschino cherry, but not so much the execution. And as my fondness for bourbon grew, and I started ordering and then making my own Manhattan cocktails, I just couldn’t bare to put a sickly sweet cherry into my perfectly executed drink. I love low end as much as the best of us, but not in the same glass as a high end bourbon.

Although I have seen good maraschino cherries in our local cheese shop, I could never justify their ridiculous price-tag. Then one day I stumbled upon sour cherries at the farmers market, which have an incredibly short season, and I was inspired to make my own. I had no idea how easy they are to make. I found recipes all over the internet – none of which took more than 5-10 minutes to make. However, I did have to commit to buying a rather large bottle of maraschino liqueur, which I have no other use for, but the liqueur won’t go bad and now I can make a new jar of cherries every season.

Maraschino Liqueur

This bottle will last me awhile…

Maraschino Cherries
Homemade Maracino Cherries_web

1 cup Maraschino liqueur
1 pint sour cherries, pitted (a Starbucks straw works nicely – just carefully push it through the cherry and the pit will stick in the straw)

Bring the liqueur to a simmer, and then turn off the heat. Add the cherries, stir, let cool, and then pour into jars. Refrigerate. 

Jar of Cherries_web


My favorite way to drink bourbon, aside from neat. This recipe is from the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans so it must be perfect.

1 1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Pouring the Manhattan_Web

Garnish with a cherry.

Picking the Cherries