When cherries go on sale, I always whip up at least one batch of brandied cocktail cherries. The recipe is super simple:
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brandy
Whole spices like cinnamon, star anise (optional)
These cherries will keep in the fridge for several weeks, and only get better as they soak up the alcohol-sugar mixture, and besides cocktail garnishes, they make a great ice cream topping along with the liquid from the jar.
Pit a bunch of cherries, however you like. I use a regular vegetable peeler but you could also try that chopstick-over-a-bottle technique if that works for you. I’ve compiled an Instructables Collection with various techniques for pitting cherries.
Mix It Up
Put your cherries in a jar, then fill the jar about halfway up with very hot sugar water. You could also give them a toss on the stove in a saucepan, but why dirty another dish? Close up the jar and give it a few rolls to coat the cherries. Fill the jar the rest of the way up with brandy, mix it up again, and stick it in the fridge, at least overnight.
Enjoy as a garnish in cocktails or on (adult) ice cream sundaes! You could try mixing up this recipe by adding some whole spices to the mix, or a splash of your favorite liqueur. I’d love to hear how you make it your own.