A Step-By-Step Guide To Make Homemade Cocktail Cherries
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Whether they are sitting on the rim of your cocktail glass or sunk at the bottom of it, cocktail cherries elevate cocktails to new heights with their sweet-tart flavour. These deliberate additions to cocktail recipes bring depth and character, and are broadly categorised into three commonly-used types. Maraschino Cherries – bright red cherries that are steeped in sugar syrup infused with almond essence, Luxardo Cherries – with their Italian origins and dark magenta in colour that are soaked in sugar syrup to enhance flavours and Rainier Cherries – which are known to be of premium quality and known for their sweet flavours.

Used widely by most bartenders and mixology experts worldwide, good quality cocktail cherries can be difficult to find if you don’t have access to a gourmet store or specialty food market. A great tip to make cocktail cherries at home is to use a locally available variety of cherry and play along with a standard process to recreate the same effect or something that’s close to the original. Here are some of the key components to get you started on making a batch of these delicious cherries at home.

Sugar Syrup

Steeping the cherries in sugar syrup not only enhances their sweetness but also increases their shelf life. Make a simple syrup made of equal parts water and sugar to steep your cocktail cherries in.

Flavouring Agent

Add a few flavour enhancing spices and extracts to improve the taste of your steeped cherries. From vanilla and almond extract, or spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, flavouring adds depth to your cocktail cherries.


If you’re making a batch of cherries for non-alcoholic drinks or mocktails, skip this step. However, add a dash of brandy or bourbon to your syrup for a layer complexity, just like dry fruits are soaked for Christmas cake.

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Step 1 – Prep Cherries 

Wash and rinse the cherries thoroughly to let the water drain. Make sure to dry the fruits completely, before removing the stems and pitting them using a pitter. You could also leave the cherries with the stems and pits on for a better aesthetic appeal.

Step 2 – Sterilise Jars 

Similar to making pickles, steeping cherries in syrup also has an important step of using a sterilised jar to make sure they have a long shelf life. Use a clean, dry glass jars and boil their lids in hot water for at least three minutes. Allow the jar and lid to dry out completely before using them.

Step 3 – Make Simple Syrup

Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat, until it dissolves completely. Boil the syrup for five minutes and allow it to cool down completely.

Step 4 – Infusions 

Place the cherries in the sterilised glass jars leaving a little gap on top. Add any whole spices or flavouring agents along with a dash of rum, whisky, brandy or any liqueur.

Step 5 – Steep In Syrup

Once the syrup is cooled, pour into the jars over the cherries until they are completely submerged, leaving a small gap at the top of the jar to allow for the cherries to expand as they steep.

Step 6 – Storage

Seal the jar tightly with the sterilised lids to ensure no air can get in before storing the steeped cocktail cherries in a cool, dark place for at least a week.