January 12, 2009

instead of icky maraschino cherries

For the manhattans we made this weekend, I needed a replacement for the disgusting maraschino cherries that most bartenders put into this otherwise delightful drink. I bought some frozen sweet cherries that I'll have to try some other time, because plan A worked so well.

I took plain unsulfured dried sweet cherries from Trader Joe's (and i bet this would work with dried sour cherries too, like the delectable ones I got at the Persian market), and I soaked some of them in bourbon and some in Cointreau. I wanted to see if the fruitiness of the Cointreau would be a pleasant addition or an unwelcome distraction, and the bourbon cherries were the lower-key option.

As it turned out, both were delicious dropped into a manhattan -- or fished out of the dish and snarfed on their own, and I have visions of putting these into desserts or over ice cream. But though both were made of nom, the consensus was that the Cointreau cherries were the best, and so we've made another batch with the rest of the dried cherries.

We found that the soaking liquid was syrupy and sweet, very tasty also, but we wanted to dilute it down just a little bit so it could be used as a sauce or a drink ingredient, so we covered our latest batch of cherries with Cointreau and let them soak for a day, then we put in half again as much vodka, to see if that would thin things down a bit. When we use them, we'll post again and let you know.

Posted by foodnerd at January 12, 2009 04:34 PM

Funny thing: I was pondering today--TODAY--where I was going to come up with a jar of decent cherries for old fashioneds and manhattans. I will try this (side note: they're unconventional, though not unheard of, in old fashioneds. I think it sounds worth trying).

My instinct is that cointreau would be distracting in a manhattan. I take it you did not find that to be the case.

And just wondering: are you a classic manhattan kinda nerd or more the perfect manhattan kind? I prefer my manhattans perfect.

"made of nom." : )

Posted by: C at January 12, 2009 05:13 PM

perfect manhattans, because we find the classic variety to be a bit too sweet for our tastes. Which may be why the cointreau versions weren't so distracting.

Posted by: tallasiandude at January 13, 2009 01:52 AM

I thought it was nice in the manhattan, though as noted we make ours perfect. no strong cointreau flavor came through in the drink as such, just a nice little sweetie treat at the bottom of the glass. prizes for imbibing!

if i was to put them into old fashioneds, i'd use the bourbon flavored ones. i've seen cherries in these, and i think they'd be rather nice with the bitters and bourbon. i wonder if SOUR cherries soaked in bourbon would be even better...

if it wasn't so effing cold, i'd leave the house and go by the armenian markets and see what they have in the way of dried sour cherries.

Posted by: foodnerd at January 16, 2009 09:18 PM
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