How to Make Spiced Cocktail Cherries

Spiced Cocktail Cherries are the ultimate gift for the cocktail lover in your life ~ make a small batch for the refrigerator, or can them for holiday gifting, these boozy cherries are always a big hit.

Spiced Cocktail Cherries in a mason jar

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.

Spiced Cocktail Cherries in a mason jar with cinnamon stick
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.

Fresh cherries in a basket for Spiced Cocktail Cherries

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.

Making Spiced Cocktail Cherries

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.

spiced cocktail cherries in a glass jar

Spiced Cocktail Cherries in a glass jar

Here’s to making the holiday rush a little more pleasant!

Spiced Cocktail Cherries pin

My pretty wide mouthed Week tulip jars are the perfect size for a batch of cocktail cherries. I use these German jars for canning and storage, I just love them, and they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, which means there’s a Week jar for every kitchen project imaginable. They can be hard to fine in retail, so I buy them online, and you can too, HERE.

Weck canning jar for basil marinated mozzarella

Spiced Cocktail Cherries in a glass jar
3.5 from 8 votes

Spiced Cocktail Cherries

Spiced Cocktail Cherries are the ultimate gift for the cocktail lover in your life ~ make a small batch for the refrigerator, or can them for holiday gifting, these boozy cherries are always a big hit.
Course preserves
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Yield 1 large jar of cherries
Author Sue Moran


  • 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
  • whiskey
  • 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. As long as the cherries are submerged in the liquid they will last up to 6 weeks.

Cook's notes

I recommend storing brandied cherries in the fridge or canning them in a water bath for 15 minutes, increasing that time at higher elevations.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    July 29, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Do you think if I processed these in a water bath with canning lids they’d be diminished in any way? Like loss of color from heat, etc…?

    • Reply
      July 29, 2018 at 9:21 am

      I haven’t canned these Theresa, but I know people that do. I think the texture does get softer, for sure, but they stay dark.

  • Reply
    January 10, 2014 at 9:14 am

    The cherries available this time of the year are not as good as later. Even though the stem would be missing, can you use frozen cherries?

    • Reply
      June 27, 2018 at 12:06 pm

      I haven’t tried this with frozen cherries, but I assume it would work. I think the texture would not be as good, though, just fyi.

  • Reply
    December 7, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    I’m not a whiskey drinker, but I am a cherry lover. These look really delicious and so colorful. I’ve never spotted cherries out of season, here. But, if I do…

  • Reply
    Jude- A Trifle Rushed
    December 7, 2013 at 1:04 am

    How perfectly delectable, and something I’ll try if I see any cherries in the next week or so.

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