Saturday, November 14, 2020

Boozy Holiday Cherries


Whether you are a novice with a cocktail shaker or an expert in mixology, a really good boozy holiday cherry is your home bar’s best friend. 

So many classic drinks call for a red cherry garnish – Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, Manhattan, Pina Colada, Mai Tai, and even the non-alcoholic staple, the Shirley Temple. 

Additionally, these boozy holiday cherries are delicious topped on pound cake with whipped cream, used on top of vanilla ice cream, or with pineapple upside down cake instead of maraschino cherries.

Fresh cherries are best, but I have used cherries I bought fresh in the summer and put in my freezer, so go with whatever you have available. Simply thaw the frozen cherries first.

What do you need to make Boozy Holiday Cherries?
  • 6 cups sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted 
  • sugar
  • water
  • lemon juice 
  • cinnamon sticks
  • maple syrup
  • quality whiskey
  • half-pint canning jars

6 cups sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 3/4 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
1-2 sticks cinnamon
1 tbsp whiskey per half-pint jar

Pack stemmed and pitted cherries into the half-pint canning jars until jars are about 3/4 full.

Add sugar, water, lemon juice, maple syrup and stick cinnamon to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to a low boil to dissolve sugar. Allow to simmer softly 10 minutes. Remove from heat; remove stick cinnamon and discard.

Top each jar with the hot liquid leaving 3/4-inch headspace. Add 1 tbsp whiskey or slightly more to each jar, until each jar has 1/2-inch headspace.

Cover jars with lids and bands and process in boiling water bath or steam canner 15 minutes. 

Remove jars and allow to sit undisturbed on your countertop 24 hours. Jars are sealed when button on top is fully depressed an won't flex up and down. 

Store sealed jars in a cool dark space, letting the cocktail cherries cure in the sugar-liqueur mixture for at least 3 weeks before using. Once opened, store jars in the fridge and use within 3-4 weeks.


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