The secret to clinching this recipe, which is adapted from Kate Lebo’s Book of Difficult Fruit, is finding and pitting fresh sour cherries. More tart, fragile, and complex than their sweeter cousins, they have a particularly short season. While frozen sour cherries hold up beautifully for baked desserts like pies and crumbles, in this preparation, fresh fruit will yield far superior results. To preserve the shape of both the maraschino cherries and your sanity, get a cherry pitter before you begin. If desired, reserve the pits to perfume the boozy soaking liquid with their almondy aroma.
Use homemade maraschino cherries anywhere you would the store-bought version—in classic cocktails like a Manhattan, atop a grownup ice cream sundae, or eaten straight out of the jar. Once properly sealed, the cherries keep well for at least a year, and make excellent holiday gifts.
- 4½ lb. sour cherries, stemmed and pitted (about 11 cups), pits reserved (optional)
- One 750-mL bottle Luxardo maraschino liqueur