Manhattan with Brandied Cherry

August 31, 2012

This is one man of a Manhattan with home-made brandied cherries. It looks and tastes deliciously sophisticated. I love cherries, but I hate those sickly sweet red ones, that they give you in cheap cocktails. They just taste of sugar and have a really weird texture. I sometimes wonder if they’re even cherries… So for this recipe, I decided to soak some fresh cherries in brandy, cinnamon, and orange zest to create the most fantastic cocktail cherry. They bring real depth of flavour to any cocktail, and hark, they actually taste of cherry! They are a handy treat to have in the fridge and are a great with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce to make a really decadent dessert. I’m thinking of making a mini black forest trifle with them too. It’s  a great way of using up a glut of summer cherries. Together, these cherries and this Manhattan are delish and I can’t wait to sample some more. Roll on the weekend….



Brandied Cherries

  • 1 oz of sugar
  • 1 fl oz of water
  • Good squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 4 fl oz of brandy
  • 12 oz pounds dark, sweet cherries, pitted

Place the sugar, water, lemon juice, orange zest and cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan. Place it over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Once the syrup has boiled, reduce it to a low heat and add the cherries. Simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the cinnamon stick, and stir in the brandy. Allow to cool completely, before placing cherries and brandy juice in a jar. Leave to cool overnight in the fridge. This recipe makes one standard jam jar of cherries.


  • 1 fl oz of Vermouth
  • 2 fl oz of bourbon / Jack Daniels (Tennessee whiskey works fine too)
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • 1 teaspoon of cherry brandy juice (from above)
  • Brandied Cherry on a cocktail stick


Chill a martini glass with a few ice cubes. Place the vermouth, bourbon, bitters and cherry/brandy juice in a cocktail shaker with some ice. Remove the ice from the martini glass and dry with a dish towel. Strain the cocktail into the glass. Place the brandied cherry on the cocktail stick into the bottom of the glass and serve.

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