DOTW: Marasca Fizz

Posted by Anita on 07.20.07 7:08 AM

(c)2007 AEC *all rights reserved*It seems like all of the hip kids are doing it: Tossing out their radioactive-looking cocktail cherries in favor of home-steeped alternatives. Hell, even the New York Times jumped on the bandwagon in this week’s food section — a sure sign that a trend has hit the mainstream.

For those of us in the Bay Area, the wave is breaking a touch too late. The cherries at the farmers markets are pretty darned ripe, not to mention enormous… far from ideal specimens when it comes to their intended task. But, if you get a wiggle on, you just might find a few last baskets of not-overripe cherries this weekend. (If they’re huge, you can always halve them.)

Making your own maraschino cherries is as simple as pitting a pint of cherries (or not, if you’re a pit-loving purist), and letting them steep in enough warmed Maraschino liqueur to cover them well. They’re pretty good right out of the pan, but leaving them a few days in the fridge is well worth the wait. If you prefer brandy’s woodsy overtones to the fruit-meets-nuts essence of the traditional liquor, then feel free to make that very acceptable substitution. If you go that route, you may want to add some sugar to the pan when warming your steeping liquor, but it’s certainly not necessary.

Even easier still — and a perfect option when cherry season is but a memory — is the method we’ve been using for the last year or so: Simply soak dried cherries in moderately decent brandy until they’re rehydrated. Or, head to the gourmet grocer: The fresh-brandied La Parisienne cherries sold in small containers at the Whole Foods deli counter are quite nice, and some of our Seattle friends swear by the preserved maraska cherries they buy at a local import store.

In short, there’s really no excuse for choosing a zombie cherry.

The non-neon model is, of course, the perfect garnish for your everyday Manhattans and what have you. But if you’d like to bring its cherri-licious essence to the fore, you might prefer a cocktail like this little number featured a few months ago in Food & Wine’s 2007 cocktail preview. I’ve dispensed with the original’s sugared rim, but feel free to add it back if your palate runs to the sweet side.

(c)2007 AEC *all rights reserved*(c)2007 AEC *all rights reserved*(c)2007 AEC *all rights reserved*(c)2007 AEC *all rights reserved*(c)2007 AEC *all rights reserved*

Marasca Fizz
3 true Maraschino cherries
1/4 oz cherry-steeping liquid
(use half simple syrup for unsweetened brandied cherries)
2 brown sugar cubes
3 dashes Angostura bitters
1/2 ounce Cherry Heering
4 oz chilled sparkling wine

Put the sugar cubes in a Champagne flute. Add the Angostura, Cherry Heering, cherries and cherry liquid; top with the bubbly and serve.

Drink of the Week, drinks, locavore, other blogs, preserving & infusing, recipes



Comment by Sarah

Making homemade infused cherries is high on our to-do list. I love the look of this beautiful drink!

Posted on 07.20.07 at 8:51AM

Comment by Phil

Wow, I’m trendy without even knowing about it. I put some beautiful Bings up last week, and I’m going to do some beautiful yellow and red Rainiers this weekend. I’m using Maraska maraschino liqueur, but I don’t know how it compares to the Luxardo everyone seems to be using.

Posted on 07.20.07 at 11:07PM

Comment by GG Mora

Too late for this year, but I see from your picture that you’re using the cherry pitter incorrectly (as most folks do). I only know this because my husband and I recently went through the exercise of pitting 20 lbs. of cherries for jam and didn’t figure out until Round 2 that you can pit them without removing the stems, and that the little slot in the “bowl” of the pitter is for threading the stem through. I actually made a short video and posted it (and got all verbose about it on my blog):

Posted on 07.23.07 at 11:59AM

Comment by Anita

GG: It’s not too late at all — I just bought 2 pounds of tiny sour cherries yesterday and I’m going to pickle them tonight… thanks!! :D

Posted on 07.23.07 at 12:02PM

Comment by Doug

I never thought they’d be so easy to make. The artificiality of the bottled variety always turned me off, but I think I could go for these.

Posted on 07.24.07 at 7:45PM

Pingback by Intoxicated Zodiac Blog » manhattanite - easy does it libra

[...] 2 oz cherry whisky (PHILIPS UNION CHERRY WHISKEY) or infuse your own* 1 oz sweet vermouth few drops orange bitters cherry or two (never use store bought maraschino, those are unhealthy!!! make your own, or use sour cherries like moi) [...]

Posted on 03.16.08 at 1:58PM

Comment by George Sawyer

Does anyone know how long these will keep in the fridge after you make them?

Also, fwiw, I found out the hard way that if you soak them too long – in my case 6 days – the color leaches out of the cherries. The next batch I soaked in room temperature liqueur for two days and they were incredible

Posted on 06.09.08 at 10:31PM

Comment by Anita

George, I keep them at room temp and they last at least a year. I have cherries from last summer that are just fine.

Never had any problem with the color leeching… that’s odd.

Posted on 06.09.08 at 10:44PM

Pingback by Married …with dinner » Blog Archive » When life gives you lemons

[...] years, I get started on the preservation kick at the height cherry season (when I make my annual batch of cocktail garnishes), and don’t put away the canner until after the last tomato harvest. So when I heard about a [...]

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