Choosing the Right Cocktail Cherry, What’s the Difference?

maraschino cherries

Who Doesn’t Love Cocktail Cherries? Do you know which cherry goes in your drink?

Are cherries popular in cocktails?

Cocktail Cherries are a popular ingredient in many cocktails. One of the most well-known drinks that uses cherries is the classic Manhattan, which typically includes a maraschino cherry as a garnish. Other cocktails that use cherries include the Singapore Sling, the Cherry Sour, and the Cherry Caipirinha, among others. Additionally, cherry liqueurs and syrups can also be used in cocktails to add a sweet and fruity flavor.

Do Cocktail Cherries do More than Act as Garnish?

Cocktail cherries primarily serve as a garnish, adding visual appeal and a pop of color to cocktails and other beverages. However, they can also contribute to the overall flavor and experience of a drink in several ways:

  1. Flavor: Cocktail cherries, particularly those preserved in syrup, liquor, or a brine solution, can impart some sweetness, tanginess, or tartness to a drink. The type and intensity of the flavor depend on the cherries’ preservation method and ingredients.
  2. Aroma: Some cocktail cherries, such as those soaked in brandy or other spirits, can add a subtle aroma to a drink, enhancing the overall sensory experience.
  3. Texture: The cherries themselves can provide a contrast in texture compared to the liquid in a cocktail. Biting into a cherry can be a pleasant surprise that complements the drink’s flavors.
  4. Edible component: Including a cocktail cherry in a drink encourages the drinker to engage with the beverage on a more interactive level, providing something to eat along with sipping the liquid.

While cocktail cherries may be primarily seen as a garnish, their impact on a drink’s flavor, aroma, texture, and overall experience shouldn’t be underestimated.

There are several types of cocktail cherries available, including:

Maraschino Cherries

These are the most common type of cocktail cherry and are typically bright red in color. They
are made from sour Marasca cherries that are soaked in a syrup made from sugar, water, and
maraschino liqueur. Maraschino cherries are a common garnish for many cocktails, including
the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, and the Mai Tai.

Luxardo Cherries

These cherries are a type of maraschino cherry that are made by the Luxardo company. They
are darker in color and have a firmer texture and richer flavor than other maraschino cherries.
These cherries are often used as a high-end alternative to maraschino cherries and can be
found in classic cocktails like the Aviation and the Brooklyn.

Amarena Cherries

These are small, dark cocktail cherries that are typically packed in syrup. They have a slightly bitte flavor and are often used in Italian cocktails and desserts. Amarena cherries are often used in Italian cocktails like the Negroni and the Aperol Spritz.

Bourbon Cherries

These are cocktail cherries that have been soaked in bourbon whiskey, giving them a sweet and boozy flavor. They are often used in cocktails that feature bourbon or other whiskey-based spirits. Bourbon cherries are a popular garnish for bourbon-based cocktails like Whiskey Sour and Mint Julep.

Brandied Cherries

These cocktail cherries are soaked in a sweet brandy syrup, giving them a rich and fruity flavor. They are often used in classic cocktails like the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned. Brandied cherries are also used in classic cocktails like the Sidecar and the Brandy Alexander.

Spiced Cherries

These cherries are soaked in a syrup that has been flavored with cinnamon, clove, and other
spices. Spiced cherries often used in holiday cocktails and desserts.

Cherries have been a staple ingredient in many cocktails for decades and continue to be used in
creative ways by mixologists today.

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