Spiced Brandied Cherries

Jon and I, wanting to replicate those really delicious black cherries you'll find in your drink at cocktail bars that pride themselves on freshly squeezed juices and handmade elixirs decided to try our hand at homemade maraschino cherries. I waited until the height of cherry season back in August when you can score a huge bag for next to nothing and decided on the recipes featured in this New York Times article from a few years back. The recipe had the integrity, and minimal ingredient list I was looking for. And in addition to the Maraschino Cherries, the article also had a recipe for Spiced Brandied Cherries which sounded good enough to try, you know since I was already pitting tons of cherries. Turns out they're much better than their 'true' maraschino counterparts. Maraschino cherries are supposed to be sour to begin with, and then you soak them in alcohol, and they kinda fade to a greyish maroon that's not very attractive. And you're left wondering why you did this to all those lovely peak season cherries. But the brandied ones rely on a simple syrup base, a small amount of brandy, and some lovely hints of spice. Which make them absolutely delicious! You can of course plop them in cocktails, but they're also great with ice cream or along side any chocolaty dessert. And while a batch made with fresh cherries does have a bit more plumpness than one made with frozen, I think the frozen variety would make a great holiday gift or easy to assemble dessert this time of year.

Spiced Brandied Cherries
from the NY Times

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 whole cloves
1 2" piece of cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
1 quart sweet cherries, stemmed and pitted if fresh
1/2 cup cognac or other aged brandy

In a small saucepan combine sugar, spices, and water and bring to a simmer stirring until sugar dissolves. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cherries and brandy. Allow to cool. Store mixture in jars refrigerated for at least 2 days and up to several months.


  1. Sweet Cherries and Brandy and Spices, also the liquid they're soaked in is very flavorful as well!

  2. i'm hungry
    why do you live so far away????