Brandied Cocktail Cherries

While Brookelynn was visiting me in NYC recently, we made some brandied cocktail cherries to go with our Manhattan cocktails. Watch the CRAFT Video to learn how, and read on for the exact recipe and a great cocktail to serve with it!

Subscribe to the CRAFT Podcast in iTunes, download the m4v video directly, or watch it on YouTube.

Here’s the recipe (adapted from SLOSHED!):


15-20 sweet cherries
¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup water
1 cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon vanilla



Step 1: Pit the cherries using a vegetable peeler (or whatever works for you).

Step 2: Combine sugar, water, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan over medium-high heat and stir to dissolve.

Step 3: Bring the mixture to a boil, then add cherries and stir for 5 minutes, keeping the mixture at a simmer (you may need to reduce the heat).

Step 4: Let the mixture cool slightly, then pour the cherries and sugar syrup into a wide-mouth mason jar. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Step 5: Fill the remaining space in the jar with brandy (and maybe a dash of amaretto), seal, roll, and refrigerate. Soak overnight before using, and they should stay fresh for about two weeks.

“But Becky,” you may be asking, “what cocktails should I make?” Here’s a slightly sweeter take on a classic Manhattan:

2 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz sweet vermouth

1/2 oz cherry jar juice (from above, or use plain brandy)
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 brandied cherry
orange peel twist (optional)

Glide orange peel along the edge of a martini glass to release its oils on the rim. Combine all liquids in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake for 30 seconds, then strain into glass and garnish with cherry and orange twist. Enjoy!