One of the many things I’ve loved about dating Barclay this year has actually been double-dating with Barclay this year.
I know it may sound cheesy. But during all of my single-girl years, one of the things I always felt like I missed out on and soooo looked forward to someday was being able to go out with couple-friends as a couple. Everything from grabbing a bite to eat together, to going on trips together, to someday maybe even hanging out while having little ones play at our feet together always sounded so dang fun. And now that we get to do that regularly — well, minus the little ones of our own, obvs ;) — I’m not taking a second of it for granted. Love double-dating!!!
Without a doubt, one of our favorite couples to hang out with are our friends, Lindsey and Will. Barclay and I actually each knew them independently before we got together. And Lindsay will forever and always hold a special place in our hearts, since she was the first of our three conspiring matchmakers to suggest that Barclay and I should meet. ♥ But together, these two (and their sweet girl, little Lincoln) are hands-down some of our favorite people to spend time with. I mean, what’s not to love? They are equally as obsessed as we are with good Mexican food (and making their own killer margaritas), they also love entertaining and live music and traveling galore, they’re super-supportive and encouraging and ask good questions about how things are going with Barc and I (“fun secrets”, as Lindsay likes to call them), and really, they’re just so easy and fun to be around and feel like family. We love ’em!
That said, one more thing I love about them is that I can almost always count on Lindsey or Will to throw out a new recipe idea for the blog whenever we hang out. And sure enough, over Mexican food a few weeks ago, the conversation turned to making homemade brandied cherries.
I had mentioned how I was trying to make my way through the end of an enormous (surprise!) shipment of fresh cherries that I had just received in the mail. And Lindsey and Will both immediately piped up and said that I had to try their recipe for brandied cherries. The idea sounded great, especially since my favorite cocktail cherries are so dang expensive to buy. So I rounded up the ingredients, and got ready to make them. Although I didn’t have any brandy, so I decided to try swapping in some bourbon in place of brandy.
And oh my goodness, they weren’t kidding.
These cherries are delicious.
And even better? They’re so dang easy to make.
Just gather a bunch of fresh cherries, which are conveniently in-season right now, and go to town pitting them. (Which — PSA — if you love cherries and don’t already own one of these cherry pitters, I can’t recommend buying one enough. I’m generally opposed to single-use gadgets, but this one is freaking brilliant. And that’s an affiliate link.)
Place your cherries in a clean mason jar or two. Then on the stove, bring some water, honey, vanilla, nutmeg, a cinnamon stick, and a large orange peel to a simmer over medium-high heat until the honey has dissolved. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for awhile for those flavors to meld. Then remove from the heat and stir in the bourbon. Mmmmm.
Pour the mixture over the cherries, and let the jars rest for awhile until they cool to room temp. Then place them in the refrigerator for at least a few days before using.
Then these delicious, naturally-sweetened, bourbon soaked cherries will be yours to enjoy for a few months to come. Use them to top a good Manhattan, a classic Old Fashioned, a French 75, you name it.
I love them because they’re naturally sweetened with honey (and sweet but not too sweet), made with natural ingredients (and zero food dyes, as opposed to common maraschino cherries), and they pack a great bourbon kick that tastes great with just about any cocktail. So if you love good cocktails, grab some fresh cherries while they’re still in season and make a batch! They’d be perfect for an easy date night “in”, or even a double-date night “in”. ♥
All my thanks to Lindsey and Will for the recipe recommendation!
This Bourbon-Soaked Cherries recipe is quick and easy to make, naturally-sweetened, and a delicious addition to your cocktails.
1 pound sweet bing cherries, pitted and stems removed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey (or your desired sweetener)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, store-bought or homemade
pinch of nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
1 strip of orange peel
1 cup bourbon (or any favorite whiskey)
Place the cherries in two clean pint-sized mason jars (or one large quart-sized mason jar). Set aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the water, honey, vanilla extract and honey until combined. Gently stir in the cinnamon strip and orange peel. Continue heating, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, and continue simmering for another 10 minutes for the flavors to meld.
Remove from heat, and strain out the cinnamon stick and orange peel. Slowly add in the bourbon, and stir to combine.
Pour the bourbon mixture evenly over the cherries, then let the mixture cool completely to room temperature. Secure the lids on the mason jars, give them a shake, and refrigerate for at least 3 days before using. The recipe should last for up to 2-3 months.
*If you want softer cherries, you’re welcome to add the cherries to the honey mixture and let them simmer for that 10 minutes together. Then just stir in the bourbon, and add them to the pint jars, etc.
ahhhhhhh I love lindsey & will & lincoln!!!!!! they are the v. best.
Ok, woah. Is it acceptable to just eat these straight from the jar or do they need to be used as a garnish?? :P
OMG I would love to make these for Christmas presents, but I doubt they’d keep that long, right?
Hi Dani! Actually, they should keep for up to 2-3 months :)
These look amazing and would be insaaaaane mixed into homemade ice cream.
Thank you Diane — we hope can give them a try! And YES, these would be to die for in some homemade ice cream — the possibilities are endless! :D
This is so cool! My husband loves an old fashion and I can’t wait to make these for his next guys night!
Had the same reaction as the commenter above: in/on/with ice cream, with the suggested option of the cherries having simmered in the honey mixture. Could also use them in a Black Forest type cake. Yum.
Yes, oh my gosh, we love the idea of putting these in a black forest cake — excellent idea!
Thanks Ali! I’ve been looking forward to this post! Also, Lindsey made your bourbon chocolate chip cookies last night and they were awesome. Don’t tell her, but I had one for breakfast this am.
– Will PS We love hanging out with you and Barc too!
This recipe sounds delicious and I was interested in making these cherries for gifts as well! The recipe says cherries are good for 2-3 months but then Hayley replied to another post that they were only good for up to 1 month? Just wanted to clarify which is correct… Thanks!
Hi Jamie! Oops, goodness, thanks for catching my mistake! Yes, these should keep for around 2-3 months. We hope you enjoy them!
Your friends sound amazing! Not only are they excellent matchmakers but they come up with the best recipe ideas!
Yum!!! I can’t wait to try these! I grew up eating a similar version on top of vanilla ice cream… Although I wasn’t allowed more than three cherries until I was a teenager ?
We hope you love them, Melissa! Ahhh, they would be SO GOOD on top of vanilla ice cream (or better yet, vanilla gelato)! :)
Hey, does anyone know how these would turn out with frozen unsweetened cherries? I want to make them for Christmas but cherries are kind of hard to find in December…..
I think they would be great! Just add in a little extra honey (or your desired sweetener) if need be. :)
Hi, I just came across your site and can’t wait to make so many of your recipes…honestly I peruse a lot of cooking sites and yours is the best one I’ve seen in a white! Anyway, I want to make the cherries but the link is broken for the pitter. If there is a good pitter you use I would prefer going with your recommendation rather than buying one to be disappointed.
Thank you for your sweet comment, Ellie! We’re so happy you enjoy the blog, and thanks for letting us know about this link — it looks like it’s no longer available on Crate and Barrel’s website, but we found it here:
Use a sturdy plastic straw (like those you buy with an insulated cup). Push the straw through the cherry atthe stem end. You will lose a small plug of the cherry in the straw but the pit pops right out. Simple & cheap.
Cherry bounce. Try it, you won’t be sorry.
Can you use the jarring process of sealing these to preserve them?
Hi Jonathan! We haven’t tried that and honestly aren’t too familiar with canning. However, we think if you were to follow the traditional method for canning fruits, that should probably work!
if made in july, would they keep until christmas for presents? also, do i leave in the fridge the entire time?
Hi Rachel! You’ll definitely want to store them in the fridge for the whole time, but these will really only keep about 2-3 months, so we wouldn’t advise making them this far in advance. We hope this helps!
I’m making these again as gifts this year because they were such a hit last year! Amazingly delicious! A trick I used to make them last- I used sterilized mason jars and added the liquid while it was piping hot over the cherries and screwed the lids on tightly. As they cool the lids seal and you have canned cherries!
These came out AMAZING! The orange and the cinnamon really set the flavors off. I will definitely be making more of these for gifts. So delicious
These look great! Could I use sugar instead of honey?
can i put them through the canning process to make them shelf stable?
Can the jars be canned in a Steam Bath for longer shelf life? I have just made my first batch of jam in my Instant Pot and it seems as if the cherries would be similar. Thank you. I will try this recipe tomorrow.
I love this recipe except I use sugar instead of honey. They are delicious in Manhattans!
First batch is cooling on the counter right now. Used Jameson since that is what I had on hand. My plan was for Manhattans but hubs tasted the liquid and exclaimed we need to put that on pork chops. One of our favorite restaurants has a Jameson glazed chop so I will give that a go. Any thoughts to make a glaze from the liquid?
Thank you for a welcome change ?.
Your posts are dated from 2016. I want you to know this recipe is just as fantastic in 2021 while COVID and its variants persistently linger. Being vaccinated, I finally made it home to the State of Washington for a visit in the middle of cherry season. Wooho! I picked more cherries than ever from friends’ trees.
This is an awesome recipe ?. I used Woodford Reserve – pricey but my husband’s favorite. I also finely grated a bit of orange to simmer along with several slim peelings to place in marinade with the cherries in smaller jars . These priceless cherries almost didn’t make it home to the man intended. They were loved by all in many different drink recipes found on various website.
Can you use frozen cherries? If you don’t, what is the best method for pitting them?
I just made these amazing cherries! I tripled the batch and had a little over 3 lb of cherries. I found the liquid to be quite thin and runny, and had a bit left over. Did I not reduce it long enough? Do you think the cherries will still have a good flavor?
I have been using this recipe for a few years now. I give jars of them away as gifts and people always ask for more when they run out. Each year, my wife and I pick a ton of bing cherries. We pit them and then either freeze them, dry them or use them fresh in various dishes. I have used this recipe with fresh and frozen cherries and it comes out fine. If you use frozen cherries, make sure you are not using cherries that are freezer burned. I learned from personal experience that they will turn out soft and less tasty. I use Bulleit rye, mainly because I use the cherries in Old Fashioneds that are made with rye.
How many jars do you yield?
Could you use the leftover liquid from the cherries to make a glaze?
Has anyone ever attempted this recipe with fresh tart cherries? We have 3 cherry trees in our yard and this is the first year I’m attempting to make anything with them. I have a fresh baked cherry pie cooking on the cupboard right now but I soaked those cherries overnight in sugar, lemon juice and corn starch.
If anyone’s ever attempted with tart cherries, how did you do it?
Thanks in advance!