Maraschino or Manhattan? Find the Best Cocktail Cherries for Your Shots
It wasn’t easy finding the best cocktail cherries without searching for a long time!
Whether it is a seductive Sex on the Beach, an elegant Manhattan or a playful Malibu Pina Colada, I like all my drinks with a cherry – more for the added taste the simple ingredient can bring than the added visual.
For me, my cocktails are incomplete without the contrast of a bright red cherry in it – the cherry on top, if you must!
It is especially my Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds that I am most choosy about. I can never be completely satisfied with the taste of my cocktails unless it comes with my favorite cherries.
Is it the same for you?
If you too are looking for the best cherries for Manhattans or the best cherries for Old-Fashioneds, I have a few suggestions for you.
What Cherries Are Used In Cocktails?
We usually see a single cherry sitting inside a cocktail glass or on top of our ice cream sundaes.
Ahhh…that divine feeling!
These cherries are not just there to look good or to create an aesthetic contrast with your food, but because they usually add a distinct flavor to your ice cream sundaes, desserts, cakes and cocktails. It is especially in cocktails that cherries make the most impacts.
Usually, when we talk about the best cocktail cherries, we naturally mean Maraschino cherries; it is because these are the cherries used in most drinks, Maraschino cherries have been named “cocktail cherries”.
In the two most popular cocktails around the world – the Manhattan and the Old-Fashioned – Maraschino cherries are mostly used by professional bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts all over the world.
And guess what?
Maraschino cherries usually come from Italy, but some other locally grown varieties have been known to be used in cocktails, as well, namely Amarena cherries, Oregon cherries, etc.
9 Best Cocktail Cherries to Get Best Alcoholic Kick
Make your own cocktail cherries is time consuming as well as daughting.Here is a list of the best cocktail cherries that you can find anywhere, suitable for any kind of cocktails and drinks, including my favorite – the best maraschino cherries.
1. Trader Joe’s Pitted Amarena Cherries – Maraschino cherry beloved by everyone
Yes, these aren’t my favorite maraschino cherries, but kind of like a close relative.
These Amarena cherries from Trader Joe’s comes in a beautiful container that I personally love, as well. With a shipping weight of only 1.5 pounds, you get dozens of cherries immersed in delicious syrup.
Amarena cherries are actually a new kind of cherries that not a lot of people have tried in their recipes or cocktails. In fact, I have myself only used it once, but been completely satisfied with the taste and the quality.
Good for you.
The Amarena cherries that you get in these containers from Trader Joe’s come with pitted cherries that have their stems intact – perfect for simply popping one on your ice-cream sundaes, drinks, cakes, cupcakes and other desserts.
As far as I can tell from using them, they are completely natural and produced without any artificial coloring or flavoring; extremely sweet and just the perfect natural taste of cherries that your Manhattans and other cocktails need.
- Completely natural
- Packaged without any artificial coloring or flavoring
- Whole pitted cherries
- Comes with stems intact
- Comes immersed in syrup
- Can be stored in refrigerator for a long time
- Beautifully packaged in glass container
- Customers have complained of a broken seal and leaking container
- Expensive brand
2. Dirty Sue Whisky Cocktail Cherries – A Classic Choice for Whisky Lover
If you too, like me, like to use your cocktail cherries not just for drinks and cocktails, but for everything else, then you definitely need this 6-pack set of the best cocktail cherries.
Affordable and delicious, these cocktail cherries have been especially marketed for whiskey lovers, but you can also use them in deserts and cocktails.
Sound’s impressive, isn’t it?
The cherries in this pack from Dirty Sue are grown in the Pacific Northwest part of United States. Each of these are 16-ounce packs of whiskey cherries to garnish your drinks, desserts and cocktails. For the best cherries for Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds, you can definitely try this particular brand of cherries.
But wait – there’s more.
For use as bar cherries for the popular cocktail drinks or something special that you have crafted yourself, these are great all-natural best cocktail cherries in deep red color. These cherries are gluten-free and had been especially crafted by bartenders, both for other bartenders and home cocktail enthusiasts.
- Affordable set of 6-pack cherries
- Immersed in delicious syrup
- Perfect for Old-Fashioned and Manhattans
- All-natural cherries
- Crafted by professional bartenders
- Cherries grown in the US Pacific Northwest
- 6-pack set, only for people who use the cherries regularly
- Not for infrequent use
3. Mess Hall Cocktail Co. Cherries- Best Cherries for Manhattan Cocktail
This 9.5-ounce container of cocktail cherries are made especially for crafted cocktails, but also for other dessert recipes of your choice.
Yes, you read that right.
They are also great for serving with your cheese plate, which is a favorite snack of mine. The cherries in this pack comes from the Great Lakes region of the United States, and contains a hint of cinnamon, peppercorn, rose, vanilla bean and bourbon. So, you can taste something more than just the sweet taste of cherries in these containers.
Let’s be honest:
These are Michigan cherries that are extremely sweet, and they come immersed in a syrup that is also sweet and contain hints of other spices.
But here’s the interesting thing……
Natural in taste, texture and color, these cherries have nothing artificial in them; they will add a special taste to your Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds and other craft cocktails, and also your ice creams, cakes and cupcakes, and other desserts.
- Grown in the Great Lakes area of the United States
- Made especially for craft cocktails
- Can also be served with desserts, ice cream, cakes and cheese
- Comes immersed in sweet syrup
- Syrup contains a hint of rose, cinnamon, vanilla mean, peppercorn and bourbon
- Natural taste, color and texture
- Not whole cherries; comes in parts and with cracks
- Tastes great, but doesn’t look as good in cocktail glasses
4. Dashfire Egbert’s Premium Cocktail Cherries Bulk-Most Expensive Cocktail Cherries
These cherries are quite expensive compared to the other brands available in the market, but they are worth it!
Here’s the kicker:
They are extremely sweet, and will give you a rich and flavorful texture and taste. They aren’t exactly like Maraschino cherries either, but a close substitute of the cherries I love the most.
These cherries come immersed in a delicious syrup, which also comes with a hint of warm fall-themed spices. They are the best cherries for Old-Fashioneds, Manhattans or any vermouth, whiskey and brandy-based cocktail that you want to make at home.
- Comes immersed in delicious syrup
- Syrup mixed in fall spices
- Rich and flavorful taste, texture and color
- Perfect for Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds
- Can be used in any whiskey, vermouth and brandy-based cocktails
- Close substitute of Maraschino cocktail cherries
- Quite expensive
5. Fabbri Amarena Cherries Cocktail- Best Cherries for Old Fashioned Cocktail
I am not sure what I love most about this – the delicious cherries or the gorgeous container they come in.
Each pack has 8.1-ounce worth of cherries and syrup in them, and the cherries are perfectly ripened and pitted.
These cherries are not just for your favorite drinks and cocktails; you can serve them with ice cream and custards, and as decoration on top of cakes and cupcakes. These Amarena cherries are also perfect for Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds, as well as any other kinds of cocktails.
These are pitted Amarena cherries that are mostly whole, with a rich texture that’s firm, sweet and deep red in color. The container the cherries come in is absolutely stunning as well, made of plastic covered glass. This is definitely a container you’ll want to reuse later when empty; I know I would.
- 8-ounce containers of Amarena cherries
- Comes immersed in syrup
- Perfect for drinks, cocktails, desserts, cakes and ice creams
- Best for Old-Fashioneds
- Gorgeous plastic covered clear glass container
- Perfectly ripened, soft and pitted cherries
- Contains very small-sized cherries
- Extra sweet artificially-flavored syrup
- Too sweet to eat raw
- Makes cocktails sweet
- Very expensive
6. Peureux Griottines Cherries – Finest Cherries for Liquor and Brandy
Looking at these pretty little jars, you won’t know if they contain the best cocktail cherries or very expensive night cream.
At 14.1-ounce weight, each of these containers have a combination of Morello cherries, brandy and kirsch liquid. These cherries are perfect to add to your celebratory glass of champagne, home-made cocktails, Manhattans or Old-Fashioneds.
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read they are Peureux cherries from Griottines, harvested and manufactured in France. Unlike the common type of cherries, these pitted cherries from Griottines are crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
- Very uncommon cherries grown, harvested and packaged from France
- Stunning container can be reused
- Macerated wild Morello French cherries
- Comes immersed in brandy and kirsch liquid
- 14.1-ounce weight
- Perfect for serving with champagne and desserts
- Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside
- Best cherries for Manhattans andOld-Fashioneds
- Pitted cherries
- Not enough liquid in each container
- Heavy container with very little content inside
7. Blanton’s Bourbon Cocktail Cherries- The Fancy Cocktail Cherries
These maraschino cherries from Blanton’s are actually Oregon cherries, which come pitted and intact with their stems. Grown, harvested and marketed from Kentucky, you get more than just cherries in these jars.
Can this really be true?
Indeed, these cocktail cherries come immersed in colored vegetable concentrate, fruit concentrate, citric acid, bourbon, cane sugar and water. The syrup that comes with these cherries are sweet enough to be used as natural sweetener in your desserts and drinks instead of sugar, that’s definitely an added bonus.
Here is the magical part:
You can use these cocktail cherries in any desserts or drinks, including Manhattans and Old-Fashioneds. They already contain Bourbon, so you’ll probably get an alcoholic kick from these cherries simply from the contents of these jars. Each jar contains 16-ounces of cherries andsyrup, including the weight of the jar.
- 16-ounce jars of best cocktail cherries
- Comes immersed in syrup
- Oregon cherries grown and harvested in Kentucky
- Syrup is made from vegetable and fruit concentration, Bourbon, water, cane sugar and citric acid
- Can be used as a natural sweetener
- Pitted cherries
- Perfect for any desserts, drinks and cocktails
- Can be eaten straight out of the jar
- Heavy glass container
- Too sweet
- Contains bourbon; not for people who don’t drink alcohol
8. Luxardo Maraschino Cherries- Finest Dark Cocktail Cherries
Finally, my favorite – original Maraschino Cocktail cherries from Italy!
The Luxardo Maraschino cherries are made from original Italian Marasca cherish which are also completely natural, perfect for your Manhattans, your Old-Fashioneds and other preferred maraschino liqueur.
Think I’m exaggerating?
I use them for my sundaes, cakes and cupcakes, as well when I need something extra on top of my ice cream scoops.
These are kosher Maraschino cherries with no trace of any added preservatives or any kind of thickening agents, artificial flavoring or color. Just the perfect taste and texture of cherries, you can use these black cocktail cherries for the flavor they can add to your desserts, or for garnish in your cocktails.
See the difference?
In each can, 50% of the content are candied cherries and the rest 50% include the syrup they come immersed in. these italian cocktail cherries are The all-natural syrup, also great to use as a sweetener, is a delicious mixture of marasca cherry juice, sugar, glucose, natural color, citric acid and natural maraschino flavor, and of course, the extract from the cherries.
- Original Maraschino cocktail cherries from Italy
- 3-year shelf life
- Doesn’t need to be refrigerated
- Comes in a seal-tight reusable jar
- Certified Kosher with all-natural ingredients
- Combination of 50% candied cherries and 50% syrup content
- Syrup made from citric acid, natural color, maraschino flavor, glucose, marasca cherry juice and water
- Perfect for cocktails, ice cream sundaes and scoops, cakes and desserts
- Can be eaten directly from the jar
- Syrup can be used as a natural sweetener
- Dark-colored cherries; not bright red
- Much too sweet
- Cherries can become soggy and mushy over time
- Cherries can make your cocktails and drinks sweet
9. Jack Rudy Cocktail Cherries – Cocktail Cherries Commonly Used In Bars
This classic jar of cocktail cherries has everything you need: around 45 to 50 delicious cherries immersed in an all-natural syrup made from bourbon, fruit and vegetable concentrate, citric acid and of course, the juice from the cherries.
And guess what?
Pitted and mostly with the stems, you can use these bourbon cherries to add some flavor to your favorite cocktails and drinks, ice cream flavors and desserts. It seems like they are made from cocktail cherries recipe.
Does this sound like you?
Good enough to eat directly from the jar because they are oh-so-delicious, the syrup too can be used as a natural sweetener. They don’t need to be refrigerated, but doing so won’t hurt either; you can distinctively taste the Bourbon in the cherries even when you use them in other cocktails and desserts.
- More than 45 to 50 cherries in every jar
- Comes immersed in all-natural syrup
- Syrup made from Bourbon, citric acid, vegetable and fruit concentrate and cherry juice
- Pitted and with stems (mostly)
- Perfect for ice creams, Manhattans, cocktails, desserts and cakes
- Doesn’t need to be refrigerated
- Contains Bourbon; not for people who avoid alcohol
- Strong Bourbon taste when eaten directly
- Cherries might have a slightly crunchy exterior
Although you have many options for cocktail cherries these days – both expensive and affordable brands, there’s a reason everyone prefers a Maraschino cherry in their Manhattan or Old-Fashioned.
These are just the perfect size, shape, color and texture for cherries that you’d want in your favorite drinks at the end of the day because they will give your cocktails a unique taste unlike anything else.
Personally, I have always liked Maraschino cherries for myself, for my self-made cocktails, home-made ice cream or cakes, and the Luxardo Maraschino Cherries have always been my brand of choice.