Vanilla-Bourbon Cherries


Let’s be honest. It’s 2 AM.

I almost poured myself a glass of straight bourbon ten minutes ago. I’ll be working late all week on Google projects, so I really should get to bed (and save the bourbon for a better occasion, perhaps, a real-life handsome stranger).

Anyhoo, there will be plenty of use for these cherries this weekend. We’ll be making Manhattans on Sunday.

I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll have inspiration for a real post tomorrow. In the meantime, happy Tuesday :)




Vanilla-Bourbon Cherries

Fresh cherries — preferably the dark red ones
Lots of bourbon — I use Bulleit, which has vanilla undertones to begin with
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vanilla extract
One vanilla bean per jar of cherries

Wash your cherries over a strainer in the sink, and remove the pits using a cherry pitter. If you’re like me, and too cheap to buy one, just poke them out with the blunt end of a chopstick… carefully. Discard the pits, and set your pitless cherries aside in a bowl.

In a small saucepan, heat the vanilla extract and the sugar until the sugar is all dissolved. With such small measurements, the solution will turn syrupy quickly. We don’t want it too syrupy, so just take the pot off the heat when it starts boiling and the sugar is entirely dissolved.

Now, we want to get vanilla beans into the syrup. I preserve my vanilla beans soaking in vodka (homemade vanilla extract!) which makes it really easy to extract the beans. If you do this too, simply snip off the tip of the bean with scissors or a sharp knife, and squeeze the vanilla beans into the syrup.

If you’re working with dry beans, slice the pod lengthwise, and use a knife to scrape the beans out before stirring them into your syrup.

From this point on, we’re just assembling and waiting. Fill a clean jar with your pitted cherries, and then pour your syrup into the jar. Then, fill whatever space is left in the jar with bourbon. Screw on the top, securing the lid tightly, and give the  jar a shake.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. The cherries should be good for a few weeks. Put them on ice cream, in cocktails, or on a toothpick for a sweet snack.