Unbeknownst to most of us, maraschino cherries haven’t always been the overly sweet, rubbery, bright red mess we are accustomed to in our cocktails. You can read their fascinating history on Wikipedia, from their royal origin to their post-Prohibition descent into mediocrity.
There are two components to authentic maraschino cherries:
- Marasca cherries, a type of sour Morello cherries found in former Yugoslavia, Hungary and northern Italy.
- Maraschino, a Croatian (and later Italian) liqueur made from Marasca cherries.
Next time you see sour cherries at the farmers’ market in the fall, consider making a few jars that you can use in your drinks and desserts!
Yields over 1 pint
12 oz Maraschino
2 oz sugar
16 oz (about 3 cups) pitted sour cherries
- Bring the Maraschino and sugar to a boil, stirring regularly. Add the cherries, bring back to a boil, and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a sterilized pint jar, seal and place in a 200 F water bath for 15 minutes, with water level just below the lid.
- Let cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate. You will also have about 1 cup left of maraschino-cherry liquid that can be used for cocktails.