Those neon red marischinos might be good for topping a slice of Shoney's Fudge Cake, but they won't make an appearance in any cocktail I make. I like real cherries like the Luxardos I buy at Lazzaroli, or even better, brandied cherries made at home. Plus since I get the occasional flare-up of gout, cherries are supposedly therapeutic. (At least maybe they'll hopefully cancel out the effects of the booze ...)
Seema Prasad of Miel is a woman after my own heart, and she's been making her own cocktail cherries for years. She was kind enough to share her recipe for brandied cherries that should help us all get through the three-dog nights of fall and winter. Enjoy!
Miel's Brandied Cherries
from Seema Prasad
Growing up in the Northwest where summer cherries mean making pies, freezing, and even better … brandying for winter cocktails, I always look forward to these bright flavors of summer once the weather turned. After time I learned that there were never enough brandied cherries and that they turned out quite well when I used the frozen fruit in the same recipe that called for fresh fruit.
2 pounds frozen, pitted cherries (Bing is a sweet variety but sour cherries offer an unusual and addictive twist)
1 cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick cut in half
1 cup brandy
2 ribbons orange zest
1 cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
Fill 2 glass jars (I love the Weck jars with the gasket & clip fasteners), splitting the frozen cherries evenly.
Combine sugar, cinnamon stick, brandy, orange zest, water & salt in a pan and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Let cool for 10 minutes and pour equal parts over the cherries. Let cool with the top off then cover and refrigerate.
Lasts for months! Makes a great holiday gift.