These Homemade Maraschino Cherries are so delicious! They make the perfect cocktail garnish and are so easy! You'll be tempted to just eat them from the jar.
Why Make Homemade Maraschino Cherries?
I know what you're thinking, why should I make maraschino cherries when I can just go buy a jar at the store?
Well, for one thing, those bright red neon cherries are so bad for you! They are first processed in a brine solution to bleach out all the color. Then they are soaked in a syrupy solution (usually with high fructose corn syrup) and then a vat of color dye to turn them that unnatural red.
Isn't that crazy? Cherries are already so pretty, why would we strip off their color and add a fake color.
I stopped using the bright red cherry maraschinos ages ago (except sometimes for a photo.) I switched to the Luxardo brand, which were great, but a little pricey.
When I bought some tart cherry juice to make a Tart Cherry Negroni. I had lots left over and had the idea to make my own maraschino cherries. A very good idea.
Ingredients and Tools Needed to Make Maraschino Cherries
Apron - optional, but pitting cherries can get very messy! It helps if you have a cute vintage one like I do.
Cherry pitter - yes you can pit cherries without one, but it's so much easier with one! Mine doesn't have a guard like this OXO Cherry Pitter - I think I'm going to get it, it would probably help a lot with the splatter!
Cherries - I used Bing Cherries.
Sugar - optional, but I liked the sweetness it brings to the table.
Maraschino Liqueur - every liqueur cabinet should have a bottle of this, it's great in the Aviation Cocktail. You can also use brandy, whiskey, rum, really whatever liquor you would like!
Tart Cherry Juice - you'll use it in the Tart Cherry Negroni and I plan on coming up with a few more cocktails to use it in. It's also delicious and good for you!
How to Make The Best Cocktail Cherries!
Let's talk about how easy it is to make these cherries. The first thing you need to decide is if you want to keep the stem on. If you want the stem on, you need to pit them from the side, which can be a little tricky, but doable. I decided that I didn't care about keeping the stem on, so I pitted them the usual way, straight down from the top to bottom.
In a saucepan combine the maraschino cherry liqueur, sugar, and tart cherry juice. Bring it to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Turn it off and add the cherries, pressing down to submerge them. Let cool to room temperature and then transfer them to a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator.
They will keep in the fridge for at least 2-3 months. Don't worry, they won't last that long, once you taste how delicious they are!
These cherries are so good, they are going to become your favorite cocktail garnish! I admit, I add them to almost every cocktail now. I need to store them in the back of the fridge, because every time I open the door, I want to snack on one or two!
On a side note, our kitty, Luxie, is actually named after the Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Liqueur!
For your convenience, I've listed some cocktails that are normally garnished with a cherry!
Cocktails using a Cherry Garnish
If you're looking for even more recipes to use your cherries in, be sure and follow my Drinks Recipe Board on Pinterest!
Homemade Maraschino Cherries
- 1 cup cherry liqueur like Luxardo
- 3/4 pound cherries
- 3 tablespoons tart cherry juice
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Wash and pit the cherries. Either pit vertically to remove the stem or pit horizontally to keep the stem intact.
- In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine the cherry liqueur, sugar and tart cherry juice. Stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it just begins to simmer, remove from the heat.
- Add the cherries and let cool to room temperature before storing the cherries and the juice in a lidded jar in the refrigerator.