You know what I love? Bourbon Old Fashioneds.
You know what I despise? Maraschino cherries.
Now, I don’t claim to understand exactly what a Maraschino cherry IS (I don’t think I want to know). But – I know what it DOES, and that is: makes me want to hurl. They are seriously so gross.
Homemade cocktail cherries, however – specifically, bourbon-soaked cherries – are amazing!!
I started making these a few years back, after my husband and I went out to a swanky bar in Portland (back when we
had a life went to swanky bars in Portland) and had a delicious cocktail garnished with a house-infused bourbon cherry. I was hooked. I wanted them in everything.
So that brings me to the present day.
I was buying frozen fruit for the kids yesterday (my kids eat TONS of fruit and buying it fresh all the time gets expensive, so I often stock up on organic frozen berries for them to munch on) and saw a bag of cherries. Visions of bourbon-soaked cherries danced before my eyes.
So I grabbed the cherries, picked up a bottle of “OK” bourbon (don’t bother using the good stuff for making these cherries – it’s a waste. Save the good stuff for your actual cocktail) and got to work.
- Take one pound fresh, pitted cherries (or if you’re busy like me, just buy frozen ones) and
dumpplace them in mason jars. (I probably could have found a quart size jar that would fit all the cherries but I was also trying to make my kids dinner, so two pints it is).
- Bring 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use organic Madagascar vanilla, it adds soooooo much flavor) to a simmer.
- Remove sugar mixture from heat and slowly stir in one cup of decent (not good) bourbon.
- Take the hot sugar/ bourbon mixture and pour over the cherries. (I always use this canning funnel as it makes it so much easier not to splash stuff everywhere.)
- Voila! That’s basically it!
- Now you just have to find some lids (since this is not actually canning, I didn’t bother using metal canning lids, I just popped some of my plastic refrigerator lids on). If you wanted, you could use metal canning lids and process in a bath canner to make them shelf stable.
- Place the cherries in the fridge and let them soak for a few days before using so they can absorb all the delicious bourbon-ness (supposedly these will last several months in the fridge but mine never stick around long enough for me to test that theory):
Enjoy in all your favorite bourbon/whiskey cocktails. Cheers!!