There is a finite window of opportunity in the season of this country when it’s possible to run out to your nearest regional town and pick cherries to your hearts content. They’re abundant at markets and we pray that the season never ends. For bartenders, it’s a time to stockpile and preserve to make sure there is enough stock to make it through the winter months.
Many big, stirred down classic drinks call for cherries as a garnish. Because of the scarcity of cherries at times, the maraschino cherry has more or less taken the place of the fresh cherry across the globe. They’re not for everybody and don’t match the drink as well as they could, so there is the option to preserve them and match them to your favourite drink. The preservation of your cherries does require that you sacrifice a bottle of decent booze for the cause, but you’ll get that bottle back when you finish your cherries.
For something like a Manhattan with a rye whiskey base, preserved cherries are the prefect end to your drink. Chomping down on a rye-soaked cherry is like holding onto the last moments of the drink with a flavour explosion that lingers long enough for the bartender to make you another.
If you enjoy your drinks stirred down, pick your favourite booze and preserve away. The process is simple.
Take a large, resealable jar and fill with cherries, leaving a small window at the top. Fill the vessel with your favourite booze, making sure to cover all the cherries and leave a good margin in the top. Give them at least a month before revealing them to the world. If you’re impatient, you can slightly score the cherries to encourage the booze to soak into them.
When you’re done, try this great spin on the Martinez. If you’re not a tequila fan, substitute with your favourite liquor.
50mls Tequila (Blanco)
20mls Sweet Vermouth
1 Barspoon (5mls) Maraschino Liqueur
Dash Orange Bitters
Stir all ingredients down over ice for approximately 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with your boozy cherry.