Home Bar Essentials: Homemade Brandied Cherries

There are few essentials that we feel must exist in every bar.  Beyond the proper barware, there is vermouth, bitters, and salt that are the most common staples.  But what about cherries?  No, we are not talking about the artificially colored, horrible tasting Maraschino cherries you see at almost every bar.  We’re talking properly homemade brandied cherries, dark in color and packed with flavor.

Often going by other names, such as moonshine cherries or bourboned cherries, these little morsels of amazing are a must have for any enjoyer of the classics, such as our original perfect Manhattan.  No longer will you have to suffer with the red stems, and in its place will appear a whole new way to enjoy the drink in your hand. Trust us; these are worth every second of preparation.  For this recipe, we recommend Bulleit Bourbon as the flavors seem to enhance each other best.  Remember, if you go cheap, the cherries will taste cheap.


  • 2 pounds whole bing cherries, stems and pits removed
  • 4 cups Bulleit Bourbon 
  • 1 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground fresh ginger
  • Cleaned mason jars with new, tight lids


Wash and clean your cherries, removing the stems and pits. Set them in a large bowl with a towel at the bottom to help dry them a little bit.

In a sauce pan, whisk together the Bulleit Brandy and sugar, then add in the cinnamon stick, cloves, and fresh ground ginger. Bring to a boil, simmering until the sugar has completely dissolved.  At this point, the reduction should resemble a smooth simple syrup. To test, stick a metal spoon in and watch how the syrup pulls.  A smooth, consistent pull means you are ready.  Shake the cherries in the bowl and remove the bottom towel. Remove the cloves and the cinnamon sticks from the mixture, and then pour the reduction over the cherries in the bowl. You will need to stir the bowl to ensure full coverage of the mixture; a rubber spatula or wooden spoon would word best.  Be gentle as to not mash the cherries.

Let the mixture come to room temperature before pouring the liquid into the mason jars.  Be sure to sterilize these per the manufacturers recommendations.

When you’re ready, divide the cherries and the liquid among your jars.  This recipe will fill one large mason jar, but depending on your needs, you may want to go with smaller.  After this, seal the jars up tight and place them in the lower back portion of your fridge for at least 4 weeks.  We recommend doing a two shake every 5 days.