Made From Scratch: Maraschino Cherries

Last fall, one of my favorite souvenirs that I brought back from my trip to San Francisco was a jar of Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries. My, were those cherries delicious. No artificial flavors, no artificial colors, no preservatives -- just delicious Bing cherry goodness. Imagine my sadness when the jar was finally empty. Unfortunately, I haven't had any luck finding these cherries anywhere near me (though I could order them online), so I figured once cherry season began, I would have to try to make my own jarred cherries.

Given D's penchant for making Manhattans and Old Fashioneds of late, we needed to get some natural Maraschino cherries in the house, stat. Though I think for these to truly be maraschino cherries, I needed to use Marasca cherries, I figured that making mine with sweet cherries (which is the type of cherry most jarred maraschino cherries are made from in the U.S.) would be okay.

I melded together several different recipes to make my batch of maraschino cherries. These cherries do not taste like the uber-sweet neon-red kind you may be used to -- they definitely have more of a spicy  flavor (due to the cinnamon and nutmeg)-- but I personally like this difference, and it definitely adds a nice subtle flavor to an Old Fashioned or Manhattan cocktail.

Homemade Maraschino Cherries (printer-friendly version)
makes 4 pints

4 glass pint jars (with lids and rings), sterilized in boiling water and dried

1 pound sweet cherries, rinsed, de-stemmed, and pitted
3 tablespoons sea salt

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup filtered water
juice of one lemon
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanille extract
1 cup Luxardo maraschino liqueur (alternately, you could use brandy or another cherry liqueur)

1. In a large pot, bring six cups of filtered water to a boil. Add the sea salt.
2. Add the pitted cherries to the boiling water. Blanch the cherries in the boiling water for 4 minutes.
3. Remove the cherries from the boiling water and rinse with cool water. Set aside.
4. In a large pot, combine the sugar, filtered water, lemon juice, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Bring the mixture to a boil.
5. After the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium.
6. Add the cherries to the mixture and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
7. Remove the heat and add the Luxardo liqueur to the cherry mixture and let it cool.
8. Use a spoon to place even amounts of cherries into each prepped pint jar.
9. With a fine mesh sieve, filter the remaining liquid into a separate bowl.
10. Use a ladle to fill each of the jars evenly with the filtered liquid.
11. Place the lids on the jars and store in the refrigerator.
12. Wait at least one week before using the cherries -- the longer they sit, the better they will taste.


  1. I have made boozy cherries before. Wonderful addition to cocktails, so much better than the weird ones you buy in the store. Right? Anyway, we'll be meeting in Alaska and I wanted to introduce myself first so we can be like long lost friends once we get there! GREG

  2. How long do you think they will last for in the fridge?

  3. Hi JJ -- I think they should be good to store in the fridge for several months. (The alcohol helps prevent spoilage.) The cherries I jarred up a month ago are still looking (and tasting) good.


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