I’ve been meaning to blog stuff here for months, and failing each time. (Don’t worry; it’s because business is good!) But my pal Jen just started up a fun craft blog with her sister Lauren, and I couldn’t resist sharing this post about fancy cocktail cherries.
But if you’re not quite this crafty, don’t fret! I’ve been a hippie about maraschino cherries for ages, as corn syrup and red dye are on my Foodie Sneer List. These are two natural alternatives I’ve tried and loved. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m TOTALLY gonna try making my own in all three ways, but it’s nice to have a shoppable option too!)
These are super-natural, with a nice firm consistency perfect for biting. They’re sweetened with real sugar and colored with beet juice, but there’s no beety flavor! They just taste like maraschino cherries only much better. They also keep the stems on them, so they may look or work better for some cocktail applications.
You can get them on Amazon, but I’ve also seen them at so many local hippie-ish grocery stores, in the cocktail section. They’ve got much nicer ingredients than a couple other purportedly-natural options, too!
I was searching for the above Tillen cherries in my local non-hippie grocery store, and I wasn’t able to find them. But these weird suckers were in the imported food section, buried among ramen and Tapatío and matzoh mix. I LOVE the name, can I just say? ZerGüt. Zehr cute. :)
They’re sour but they have been soaking in truly light syrup for so long that they don’t taste very sour. However, they’ve also been sitting in syrup for so long that they kind of disintegrate if they’re remotely agitated, etc. Like, ice cubes will crush them. These are also dyed naturally, but the dye tends to kind of seep out of them and into whatever drink or dessert you put them in. Which is weird, since sour cherries are naturally red—it’s almost like their syrup bath causes the natural cherry pigment to leach out of them.
I think they work best to be muddled in drinks where you plan to muddle, or for single-cherry-on-top applications like sundaes.
Also, the jar won’t be this cute for long. Something about the threads just isn’t right, so that light syrup tends to leak and stain and drip and make everything sticky and maroon. If I were wise, I would have transferred these into a Tillen jar at some point, especially once I’d used up enough of them. (The ZerGüt jar is quite large!) Eventually I’ll get there, but you should just do it ahead of time now that I’ve warned you. :)
And there you go! May your homemade cocktails never be ungarnished. What’s your favorite cherry?