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LindyCat

Making Maraschino Cherries

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Wellll...

It's a little long winded procedurally, but pitting fresh cherries, putting them through a dehydrator and then rehydrating them in bourbon or Luxardo Maraschino liqueur makes for a tasty treat at the bottom of your cocktail glass.

Dehydrators can be found on eBay 24/7/365 for not a lot of money if you don't have one.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Oh god those little Luxardo cherries are like crack to me "“A Luxardo cherry! A Luxardo cherry! My kingdom for a Luxardo cherry!” :wink:


Matthew Xavier Hassett aka "M.X.Hassett"

"Cocktail is a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters-it is vulgarly called bittered sling and is supposed to be an exellent electioneering potion..."

- Balance and Columbian Repository. May 13, 1806

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Here are some maraschino cherries I've had going since the early fall (NY State sour cherries put up with Maraska maraschino). This is a small jar I'm going to give as a gift. I probably have around 10 times more than that. They're getting very tasty, although not all that attractive (the color is going towards a washed out brownish purple).

gallery_8505_276_51931.jpg


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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What about the cherries floating in my bottle of Ginja, carried back from Portugal? I guess I should fish one out and see what it tastes like.

Love those cherries.

My recipe involves travel too, either to Portugal or if you're short on time, to Lisbon liquors in Newark, NJ. At either destination you can buy a delicious bottle of Ginja: a cherry liquer that will have some and sometimes many whole cherries--pits included-at the bottom. They pack a powerful punch and are typically served in the Ginja but I've taken to garnishing Aviations and the occasional Shirley Temple with them.


Edited by ned (log)

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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I'm resurrecting this thread because, on a recent shopping expedition and a whim, I acquired a jar of sour cherries in syrup. What I'm curious about is whether there's any point draining off some or all of the syrup and refilling with rye (which is what I use to make my Manhattans). Or will that just leach the cherries of all their flavour, leaving me with nothing but a nice cherry-flavoured rye? (Not that that's a bad thing in its own right!)

Am I better off just picking them right out of the jar and plopping them directly into my cocktail glass?


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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hmmm, if anyone can find them "Michter's Small Batch Cocktail Cherries" are really sublime and i wish i had treasured the ones i had more because i didnt realize that they were going to be nearly impossible to find. the only real refference i can find to them on the web is through bobby flay's website. i might have to try calling Michter's and see if they can tell me where to get them.

if anyone finds them please let me know.

thanks

B

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LeNell carries the Michter's Cherries. They aren't listed online but she has them and I'm sure they can be shipped.

The Luxardo Marasche al frutto (cherries in syrup) are the best though hands down. Dean and Deluca carries them but it's hit or miss if they'll actually have them in stock on any given day.

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I don't think you're going to find anything that gives you that "maraschino cherry red" color without the use of food coloring.  This is a color that does not exist in nature.  No reason you couldn't make some brandied cherries (or perhaps soak the cherries in maraschino liqueur) for use in cocktails, though.

These Food Colors are 100% Natural

http://www.seelecttea.com/index.php?cPath=41


Wawa Sizzli FTW!

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These Food Colors are 100% Natural

http://www.seelecttea.com/index.php?cPath=41

They've also got rather scary labels, speaking as a chemist. The first blue/purple lists only "Concord grape juice concentrate". That covers a lot of ground, and plain concentrated grape juice would not make a good food coloring. Too sweet! The dietary information makes it clear that they've removed some of the sugar and all the vitamin C, but it's not clear what else they've done to alter the juice. The others seem to have similar labels. At least one includes glycerin, which is technically food safe, but I wouldn't want it in my food.

Natural does not always mean healthy or safe. Arsenic is very natural, and lethal. You wouldn't go eating nightshade either. Concentrating a natural product can change it from safe to dangerous. Look at ethanol.

I would be a lot more comfortable with these products if each label gave a summary of the major chemicals contained in the altered concentrate, so the consumer can make a more informed decision.

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Article in today's NY Times Dining and Wine section about Maraschino style cherries:

Cherries’ Garish Glory Revived, Melissa Clark

But making maraschino cherries wasn’t about practicality, or trying to mimic those vinyl-textured, frighteningly neon and once potentially carcinogenic (remember red dye No. 2?) orbs. I was trying to recapture the glory of a faded confection.

Includes associated recipes for "Maraschino Cherries" and "Spiced Brandied Cherries".


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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pretty cool.

the first time i saw them made from scratch was when i worked at locke-ober.... they were a minor acompaniment to an asian themed kurobuta pork dish. i wonder if she thought they were japanese like suntory's midori?


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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pretty cool.

the first time i saw them made from scratch was when i worked at locke-ober.... they were a minor acompaniment to an asian themed kurobuta pork dish. i wonder if she thought they were japanese like suntory's midori?

i've been buying bing cherries at the market lately to keep around the bar for people to snack on.... they are practically giving them away.... the season is about to end so i was thinking of preserving a 10 month supply or so....

maraschino is one way to do it.... but i was thinking cherries ramazzotti.... or cherries gambrinus....

for 10 months of cherries i could just do all three....

i don't really understand how maraschino liqueur could really enhance a cherry? isn't it kind of redundent? what about rye whiskey with a healthy dose of vanilla beans in it?

saterday is the day.... maybe someone else has been at this crossroads before....


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Not too long ago I tried whipping up a batch of brandied cherries. Got a bunch of fresh cherries, pitted them, and put them in a jar with Brandy (mostly), simple and Maraschino (just a little). I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. The cherries just kind of got bleached out -- in color and in flavor. I don't think the Maraschino helped them any either. Recently I was able to pick up a couple jars of the Luxardo cherries in New York and -- WOW! They truly are sublime. They are deeply and intensely red (think black) and very, very sweet. Now I see where those radioactive supermarket cherries got their ideas from. As far as I can tell they use no Brandy or Maraschino, or anything. Just a very heavy syrup that gets its color and flavor from -- cherries! So my plan now is to get some of those frozen Cascadian cherries that people have said good things about, turn half of them into juice, then turn the juice into as saturated a syrup as I can, throw the cherries into that and see if I end up with something reminiscent of the Luxardos.


Edited by David Santucci (log)

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Not too long ago I tried whipping up a batch of brandied cherries. Got a bunch of fresh cherries, pitted them, and put them in a jar with Brandy (mostly), simple and Maraschino (just a little). I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. The cherries just kind of got bleached out -- in color and in flavor. I don't think the Maraschino helped them any either. Recently I was able to pick up a couple jars of the Luxardo cherries in New York and -- WOW! They truly are sublime. They are deeply and intensely red (think black) and very, very sweet. Now I see where those radioactive supermarket cherries got their ideas from. As far as I can tell they use no Brandy or Maraschino, or anything. Just a very heavy syrup that gets its color and flavor from -- cherries! So my plan now is to get some of those frozen Cascadian cherries that people have said good things about, turn half of them into juice, then turn the juice into as saturated a syrup as I can, throw the cherries into that and see if I end up with something reminiscent of the Luxardos.

interesting..... can in syrup rather than alcohol.... Herve This had an article about canning.... i think the rule was your syrup should match the brix of the fruit. so they don't absorb too much.... i'm confused now on what to do.... i will have to consult some books. personally i've never had a hand made maraschino cherry i've liked.... i prefer an orange twist.... but i love a fresh bing cherry. there has to be a great way to preserve them....


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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i was testing out my batch of "cerises au soleil" that i have aging in the sun on the patio at work. they are pretty good but i seem to have some browning on the cherries at the top of the jar that the imported version seems to avoid...

i finally found some insight into how the people of provence do it (as well as those cools pears in a bottle)...

i just finished the electronic addition of Artisan Distilling by Kris Arvid Berglund. Berglund provides a small and very useful guide for small distilleries that is definitely worth checking out. An interesting part of the guide describes the tradition of the pear in the bottle of eau de vie and what it really takes to make it stick. Apparently an 80 spirit isn't enough to really preserve a fruit and prevent browning. For starters Burglund recommends a 45% alcohol spirit. Then very surprisingly to me Burglund recommends filling the bottles with a 1% sulfuric acid solution and letting it stand for one hour. the bottles are then thoroughly rinsed with softened water. 1 gram of ascorbic acid is dissolved in every liter of fortifying brandy. After filling the bottles Burgland recommends to vacuum out the oxigen as well with something like a water jet pump or maybe a vin vac (i have no idea how you would do it to a canning jar). Another surprise to the story is that often the fruit has to wait in the jar quite a while before the eau de vie is even ready for it. to preserve it in the mean time a solution of 10g citric acid, 1g ascorbic acid, and 100 mg SO2 (=2ml SO2 solution 5%) per liter which can supposedly preserve the fruit for up to six months while the eau de vie is being produced.

maybe i need to same process for my cherries... or at least the ascorbic acid.


Edited by bostonapothecary (log)

abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Not too long ago I tried whipping up a batch of brandied cherries. Got a bunch of fresh cherries, pitted them, and put them in a jar with Brandy (mostly), simple and Maraschino (just a little). I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. The cherries just kind of got bleached out -- in color and in flavor. I don't think the Maraschino helped them any either. Recently I was able to pick up a couple jars of the Luxardo cherries in New York and -- WOW! They truly are sublime. They are deeply and intensely red (think black) and very, very sweet. Now I see where those radioactive supermarket cherries got their ideas from. As far as I can tell they use no Brandy or Maraschino, or anything. Just a very heavy syrup that gets its color and flavor from -- cherries! So my plan now is to get some of those frozen Cascadian cherries that people have said good things about, turn half of them into juice, then turn the juice into as saturated a syrup as I can, throw the cherries into that and see if I end up with something reminiscent of the Luxardos.

well, cherry season is just starting up, so people's minds might naturally turn to preserving some for their various devices. david, did you ever get around to trying your saturated cherry syrup method?


 

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Just to lend my experience: When I just put my dried sour cherries in bourbon, I found that after a while, the juice tasted great, but the cherries had lost their cherry flavor and just soaked up the booze flavor.

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For the last few summers, my wife and I have preserved tart cherries in alcohol to use in cocktails throughout the year.

Our basic plan is to stem the cherries, pack them into Mason jars, and fill with alcohol and sometimes other spices. Then we store them in the fridge. We tend to let them steep for a month before opening. They seem to last forever, but after a year we notice that the flavors aren't nearly as bright. We mainly use kirschwasser or whiskey. Sometimes we add spices like cinnamon, clove, etc.

One thing that has puzzled me is that nearly all recipes I've seen for this specify that you pack the cherries in both sugar and alcohol. I presume the sugar is just there for the sweetness, not to aid in preservation. Does anyone pack cherries in alcohol and sugar? Just alcohol?

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I haven't tried this yet, but I'd imagine the recipes that include sugar are trying to -unfortunately- replicate the commercial "maraschino" cherries

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For the last few summers, my wife and I have preserved tart cherries in alcohol to use in cocktails throughout the year.

Our basic plan is to stem the cherries, pack them into Mason jars, and fill with alcohol and sometimes other spices. Then we store them in the fridge. We tend to let them steep for a month before opening. They seem to last forever, but after a year we notice that the flavors aren't nearly as bright. We mainly use kirschwasser or whiskey. Sometimes we add spices like cinnamon, clove, etc.

One thing that has puzzled me is that nearly all recipes I've seen for this specify that you pack the cherries in both sugar and alcohol. I presume the sugar is just there for the sweetness, not to aid in preservation. Does anyone pack cherries in alcohol and sugar? Just alcohol?

So you've been preserving the cherries: what is it about them that you want to change? Too tart? Not sweet enough? Too boozy?

Also, about the addition of sugar: the best cherries I've ever had are Luxardo maraschino cherries which are packed in a thick cherry syrup. They are sweet and still retain their shape quite well and there's no alcohol in them. You might want to experiment with making a rich cherry syrup and packing the cherries in that.


nunc est bibendum...

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So you've been preserving the cherries: what is it about them that you want to change? Too tart? Not sweet enough? Too boozy?

I don't want to change anything specifically. I'm very happy with the cherries that we make, but am curious if others mainly pack in alcohol only, or a mixture of alcohol and sugar.

Fruit packed in syrup by itself - as you described - is entirely different and not really what we're after.

Also, about the addition of sugar: the best cherries I've ever had are Luxardo maraschino cherries which are packed in a thick cherry syrup. They are sweet and still retain their shape quite well and there's no alcohol in them. You might want to experiment with making a rich cherry syrup and packing the cherries in that.

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I've packed sour cherries in booze for the past two years running: two years ago in bourbon (Wild Turkey 80) and last year in gin (Bombay Sapphire). I didn't sweeten the bourbon, but I did sweeten the gin, and I found that the unsweetened bourbon cherries tasted rather more harshly alcoholic than the sweetened gin cherries. Obviously, there are so many variables here that my observations are far from scientific, but I'm going to sweeten this year's batch, too. (And probably put them up in rum, just for a change of pace!)

If you're happy with the way yours have tasted in the past, I'd just keep on doing what you're doing. Or do a double batch, and sweeten one, and see which you prefer!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Years ago I tried to make brandied cherries with less sugar than recipes called for, as well as maraschino cherries with no added sugar. I found, as anyone who has tasted fruit-infused alcohol has probably noticed, that while the liquid became dark red and very tasty, the fruit itself became limp, pale and lacking in flavor (although not in alcohol). Anyone who has made Tequila Por Mi Amante has probably noticed the anemic-looking fruit that is discarded. I suspected that the water/juice in the fruit trades places with the alcohol in the spirit, which seemed to be true since infused spirits usually freeze solid, whereas regular 80-proof spirit does not.

I finally looked it up in McGee:

"Another ancient technique for making plant foods, especially fruits, resistant to spoilage is to boost their sugar content to the point where microorganisms will be dehydrated by the osmotic pressure across their membranes. If the concentration of dissolved material is higher outside the microbe than it is inside, then water will be drawn across the cell membrane...

"... cooked in a sugar syrup [fruit] tends to remain relatively firm and to maintain its shape. It will shrink as water is drawn out of the cells, but sugar molecules interact with the cell wall hemicelluloses and pectins, and become partly incorporated into the structure, making it firmer."

(On Food And Cooking, pp. 170-71)

While this refers to cooking fruit in a sugar syrup, it seems that not cooking but infusing with both sugar and alcohol have the same effect. I certainly notice the firm texture and "snap" of the skin of an amarene cherry, a far cry from what came out of my jars. So without resorting to additives, I suspect that sugar is required to create a tasty fruit.


Small Hand Foods

classic ingredients for pre-prohibition era cocktails

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Jacques Pepin has a method for preserving Bing cherries in alcohol in his new TV show (and book) "More Fast Food My Way". The recipe for the cherries is on line, here is the link: Jacques' Cherries Clickie

N.B. I have not yet tried this, although I intend to. But I have great faith in Jacques, everything else I've tried of his has turned out beautifully, so I've no doubt this would work as well.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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