Maraschino Cherries Three Ways

Boozy cherries? Yes, please!

When I was in Washington State earlier this year, I was lucky enough to find a bottle of real Maraschino Liqueur. For whatever reason, we don’t stock it in BC. It was also in August, so I was extra lucky to be able to take advantage of our local cherry bounty this year. Lo and behold, homemade maraschino cherries! These are definitely more of the cocktail or cake ingredient variety – not so much the sundae topping or Dresden stollen-making type – they are a little hot with the alcohol (while it is a liqueur, not a spirit, it ranks at 36%), and a little soft with the marinating but soooo yummy.

I used Skeena cherries, which worked well because they’re quite firm and crunchy so they hold their shape after soaking for so long. I also tried Rainiers – the white, peachy, pink cherries, which have a milder flavour but they didn’t hold up well – turned a bit brown due to their lighter colour, as well as just getting mushy.

I tried a few different recipes. These two, plus one jar of just pure liqueur. They’re all good but I think I like the one with the smashed pits the best. Gave it a bit more bitterness and complexity.

Unfortunately, the recipe I think I used, the link isn’t working anymore but here is an alternative with smashed pits.

And here’s my second try:

1 lb cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp lemon juice
pinch nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine ingredients in sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, add cherries and simmer for 5-7 minutes longer. Remove from heat, add 1 cup maraschino liqueur and cool. Refrigerate, uncovered until cold.
Supposedly they keep for two weeks but I’ve had mine in the fridge since August and they’re still good. Alcohol is a pretty good preservative, after all.

Source: Cupcake Project

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