There is absolutely no comparison between the taste of a homemade maraschino cherry and a traditional, supermarket maraschino cherry. The homemade version is rich with flavor, succulent, complex, and elegant. The bright red, store-bought cherries are waxy, chewy, and almost sickeningly sweet. Just the color difference alone signals that perhaps there are some large health benefits to enjoying a cherry that still actually looks like… a cherry.
When cherries are in season again, we'll share a recipe for making maraschino cherries with fresh fruit. But frozen cherries will still yield wonderful results and are available year 'round for your constant cocktail enjoyment. They're also fantastic for topping ice cream sundaes, garnishing lemonade, baking into brownies, or just unabashedly eating in handfuls. We're positive that you'll come up with more than one way to use these marvelous little treats.
Step One Allow 1 bag of frozen cherries to thaw at room temperature.
Step Two Collect the cherry water from the thawed cherries to use in a cherry simple syrup.
Step Three In a small saucepan, combine the cherry juice (about ½ a cup) with ½ a cup water and 1 cup sugar, and heat over a medium flame. Bring to a boil, then simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once all the sugar has dissolved, remove the cherry simple syrup from the stove to cool.
Step Four Once the cherry simple syrup has cooled, combine the thawed cherries, simple syrup, 2 ounces fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon almond extract, and 1.5 cups maraschino liqueur such as Luxardo in a sealed container.
Step Five Allow the cherries to marinate for a day before serving, gently stirring or shaking every few hours. The cherries will keep for about 2 weeks, so eat up and enjoy!