Luxurious Cherries

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So a few summer's ago in the middle of peak cherry season, like it is right now, I got obsessed with the idea of making my own Luxardo cherries. You know the ones that are million dollars for a small jar, but are delicious and the real deal, OG maraschino cherries made in Italy. After a bit of googling, I thought it was a project I could tackle, and did. ...

True Luxardo cherries start with a sour cherry as a base, which are harder to come by, so I tinkered with the recipe to start and used beautiful red cherries from Washington State. From there it is really pretty simple, a spiced simple syrup, Luxardo maraschino liqueur, pitted cherries, and some canning jars. The best advice I found while doing my research was to think about how you wanted to use the cherries when they are done, for me that was in cocktails like an Old Fashion or Manhattan, so I stayed pretty true to classic flavors in a lot of bitters. If you are wanting something different feel free to change up the syrup or even the liqueur.

Here is what I did:
Combine 2 cups sugar with 1 cup cherry juice, I used R.W. Knudsen Family Organic Just Tart Cherry Juice. Add your aromatics 1 cinnamon stick, 2 whole star anise, 5-6 green cardamom pods (grab all of these from our bulk section and it will only cost a few pennies).

I simmered everything until the sugar dissolved, then turned off the heat and let sit. After the liquid was cooler stirred in 1 cup maraschino liqueur. You could also use brandy, aged rum, or any combination of the three.

I strained out the spices, then divided 1 pound of pitted cherries between two canning jars and I poured the syrup over the cherries. I will say one of the few one-purpose gadgets in my kitchen is a cherry pitter, but it really makes all the difference when you are trying to clean and pit a large amount of fruit.

Let the jars cool on the counter to room temperature and then refrigerate.

Now here is the hardest part. Put them away and wait. I saw a huge range of resting times online, I let mine go at least a week before I peek in on, but really if you can let them sit a few weeks to even six, they’re even better.

The final result was fantastic and a hit at a dinner party I threw that fall when I made cocktails for a group of friends, but it might not be too far of a stretch to say making guests cocktails could make anything a hit. Interestingly, although they were great in cocktails, I also discovered that a spoon or two over vanilla ice cream quickly became a favorite treat.

Now it’s your turn, grab some cherries and make the most of this favorite summer fruit.

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