I found myself at a fancy restaurant with a real cocktail menu last week and was tantalized by 3 words... "House Made Maraschino". What? Since the cocktail in question (A French 75) also included champagne it was a no-brainer. That cocktail cherry ended up being a revelation. I love cocktails. I love a good DIY project. I know how to can fruit. Cherries are in season. Duh.
My husband loves a good Manhattan so we've had a jar of Luxardo Maraschinos in the fridge since last Christmas. They set me back $20 but are delicious. I foolishly thought Luxardo was the brand but some research taught me Luxardo is a maraschino cherry liqueur. A trip to the grocery and ABC stores got me me all set.
Here's the recipe I came up with.
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
2 cinnamon sticks
Pinch of nutmeg
Juice from 2 lemons
1 cup water
2 pounds cherries, stemmed and pitted
2 cups Luxardo
I brought everything but the cherries and the liqueur to a simmer and cooked it for 5 minutes then added the cherries. The cherries cooked for an additional 5 minutes until they softened a bit. I removed the pan from the heat and poured in the Luxardo. I water bath canned them in sterile jars for 10 minutes.
Then made my own French 75!