Real maraschino cherries are made with small, sour marasca cherries that are grown mostly in Croatia, as well as in Italy, Slovenia, and southern Hungary. You can buy imported maraschino cherries, but for a good substitute in a deserving cocktail, make your own with more local cherry varieties such as Bing.
This recipe was featured as part of our DIY Home Bar project.
- 1Stem and pit cherries, reserving the pits. Place pits in a resealable plastic bag, cover the bag with a kitchen towel, and, using a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan, smash the pits.
- 2Place sugar, water, vanilla bean pod and seeds, and smashed cherry pits in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes.
- 3Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium container with a spout and strain the syrup. Reserve the vanilla bean pod, making sure to remove any trace of the pits, and discard the remaining solids. Add the maraschino liqueur to the syrup and stir to combine.
- 4Place cherries in a 1-quart container with a tightfitting lid and tuck the vanilla bean pod in the center. Pour the maraschino syrup over the cherries, cover tightly, and refrigerate for at least 5 days before serving. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.