Make Your Own Alcohol-Free Maraschino Cherries At Home
Image Credit: Flickr

While mocktail making is not just about infusing different syrups and juices together, contrary to popular belief, cherries are not just garnishes that sit pretty over drinks. In fact, using Maraschino cherries for your mocktails and give them the same attention that cocktail cherries get, a gem of an ingredient at hand to create the best mocktails is going to be a feature in your bar. For the uninitiated, Maraschino cherries were hero ingredients from the Balkans and the Mediterranean that were first produced in the city of Zadar in Croatia during the early 19th century. With a sweet flavour and deep red colour, they turn more aromatic and juicier when steeped properly.

While most cocktail cherries – Maraschino or otherwise, are steeped in a blend of liqueur and syrup, skipping the alcohol for your mocktails is a good idea. What you will need for your alcohol-free Maraschino cherries instead is a simple sugar syrup, plenty of Maraschino cherries, and flavour enhancers like spices and fruits. Since this Maraschino cherry steeping liquid will be alcohol-free, look for as many flavouring agents as you can – from orange peels to cinnamon, and nutmeg or extracts of vanilla and almond.

Prep The Fruits

Wash your batch of cherries thoroughly, then place them in a colander to let the water drain out. Allow the cherries to dry out completely before proceeding to the next step. You could also use a kitchen towel to wipe them dry if you need. In addition, either pit the cherries and remove their stems or keep them whole for a better look.

Sterilised Jars

A crucial and unskippable tip, boil water in a large pot and place the glass jar and lid into the hot water before continuing to boil for 3 minutes. Remove carefully from the water and let the jar and lid air dry completely before filling them up.

Also Read: 

6 Reasons Why One Must Not Eat Maraschino Cherries

Make Syrup

Combine equal parts sugar and water in a large saucepan, then heat the mixture over medium heat. Keep stirring to ensure that all the sugar granules are dissolved. Cook the syrup for a minute or two more, then let it cool down completely before proceeding to the next step.

Transfer Fruit 

Place the cherries into sterilised jars while ensuring that they are not too crowded since the cherries will swell up in size once they soak up the syrup. Add a few drops of vanilla extract, almond extract, orange peels, cinnamon stick, grated nutmeg etc.

Soaking Cherries

Gently pour the cooled syrup over the cherries and make sure the cherries are completely submerged. Although this doesn’t require any stirring, make sure that there is a small gap between the tip of the syrup and the jar lid to make space for expansion.

Safe Storage

Seal the jars tightly and make sure that they are stored away in a cool, dark place for at least a week. This time period will allow the flavours of the infusion to steep into the Maraschino cherries, after which you can add them to your mocktails for the ultimate alcohol-free beverage.