If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time you probably know that we have a thing for cocktail cherries in this house. My husband is a Manhattan drinker, and you can’t have a Manhattan without a cherry. He likes the expensive all natural ones, so I try and make my own as often as I can. We’ve long run through this summer’s LIMONCELLO CHERRIES. They were wonderful, but I’m more in a warm spicy mood now. These Holiday Spiced Cherries make great gifts, too, so if you see fresh cherries, grab them. Aside from their regular summer season, they show up at random times in my store, but you can often find them during the holidays. These are from Ecuador.
If you’re used to the neon red dye # 40 version, a good gourmet cherry can be a revelation. The whiskey and spices slowly seep into the flesh of the fruit and not only flavor it but preserve it. Even if you don’t drink these can be used to garnish ice cream and other desserts, too. Depending on your level of self control, you could easily plow through the whole jar in a sitting, just popping these beauties into your mouth one after another.
I left my spices whole, but you can also crush them a bit to extract even more spice flavor. It depends on your preference. If you’re giving these as a gift, I think the whole spices look prettier. The longer the cherries soak, the more flavor they will absorb. And don’t let the whiskey go to waste after you’ve used up the cherries, by the way, it will make great cocktails on its own.
- 1 lb cherries, pitted
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
- 1/4 tsp allspice berries
- 1/4 tsp whole cloves
- 1/4 tsp multicolor peppercorns
- 1/2 of a whole nutmeg
- 2 - 3 whole star anise
- kirschwasser (optional)
- To pit your cherries, turn them sideways, that way you will retain the stem. A CHERRY PITTER works perfectly, and is well worth having around.
- Layer the cherries along with the whole spices in a glass jar, or jars. If you are giving the cherries as a gift, you may want to position the spices along the outside so they can be seen. Fill 3/4 of the way with whiskey, and top off with the kirschwasser, if using. Make sure all the cherries are submerged.
- Cover the jars tightly and refrigerate.
Here’s to making the holiday rush a little more pleasant!