Brandied cherries are awesome. If you have never had one, I first want to say “I’m sorry” and that you should totes keep reading. Whenever I am at a bar ordering a Manhattan (this has happened once or twice) (try a fafrillion) and I see that they have brandied cherries I always ask for at least 3. They are sweet (not crazy sweet though) and delicious. Brandied cherries are to a Manhattan as olives are to a martini. (what, a poet.) You could have one without them but its really not the same experience. Let me set the record straight though, brandied cherries are not those cancer causing maraschino cherries that are neon red.
Medical Sidenote: You would have to eat at least 1 babillion maraschino cherries to get cancer. I just don’t like them. (I’d like to thank Dr. Abraham, WEBMD specialist who popped in to join our conversation about the carcinogens that lurk in our beverages.)
That being said, I want to tell you a little tale of my first brandied cherry experience. The year was 2009 and I was at a local eatery in Chicago called Dunlays on Clark with Whit and some friends. (Side Note: Chicago, we are coming for you this weekend and will be at Dunlay’s on Sunday. HOLLER!) I was perusing the cocktail menu when I saw the “Perfect Manhattan”. Being new to the classic cocktail scene I didn’t realize that a Perfect Manhattan was actually a name for a drink, I thought they just had a little libation hubris. (seriously? ‘the league’ references on the blog now?) I ordered said beverage because “Hey, its perfect. How could it be bad.” So our waitress comes out with our drinks and I see my Manhattan and it looks pretty ordinary as far as Manhattans go except for the little skewer holding 3 delectable little spheres. I drank down some of the beverage because I was thirsty and that is why I ordered it in the first place but then I had my first opportunity to taste one of the cherries. Let me tell you that it blew my mind. There have been only a handful of times that liquor or the consumption of liquor has changed my life. This was one of them. Those cherries were so damn good in that Perfect Manhattan.
The years went by and I continued to enjoy an occasional Manhattan with brandied cherries, but only when we were at a bar that carried them. Whit and I had always toyed around with the idea of making them but we just never got around to it. Until now. We made them at home and they are incredible. They absolutely are the perfect compliment to basically any brown drink. The best part about them is that if you jar them properly they will last for a very long time. I highly recommend you make them or at least order them in your next Manhattan (especially those of you who have never tried them).
- brown sugar - 1 cup
- cinnamon stick - 1
- cherries - 2 pounds, stemmed and pitted
- brandy - 1 bottle, we used Planat Cognac VS Select