Cocktail cherries are one, if not the best, garnish available when you're looking for a simple and elegant way to finish your mixed drinks. These lush garnishes are great for snacking, albeit in very small increments, but are an exceptional treat while stirring up a cocktail. These are especially a delight after it's been soaking in the spirits, such as a Manhattan or old-fashioned. However, not all cocktail cherries are made the same: some are a bit firmer, others sweeter, a few have a tart taste. So if you're looking to step up your cocktail cherry game or want to find out what's worth trying, we made up a list of the best cocktail cherries for any cocktail.
Best Cocktail Cherries for Cocktails
Best All Around: The classic holds its own and withstands time for a reason.
Luxardo Original Maraschino Cherries
Best for a Sweet Tooth: Best for when you want a sweeter cocktail.
Traverse City Whiskey Co. Premium Cocktail Cherries
Best Utility Cocktail Cherry: Not just for cocktails, these cherries work well in food too.
Fabbri Amarena Cherries
Most Unique: For those who want their cocktail cherries with a boozy bite.
Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries
Best for Vibrant Flavor: For those looking for the boldest cherry flavor
Tillen Farms Bada Bing Cherries
Luxardo Maraschino Cherries are the original decadent cocktail cherry. They're the most commonly used brand for a reason: they don't overpower the drink, but they're more than capable tof holding their own even with the boldest of spirits.
They have the perfect amount of sweetness, and their syrup is a great addition to a cocktail as a colorful syrup, especially to any cocktail that calls for a cocktail cherry garnish. Their firmness is similar to that of a grape, making them an irresistible treat as you shake up a drink.
A little bit sweeter than other cocktail cherries, Traverse City cocktail cherries still help in creating a well-balanced cocktail. To counter the additional sweetness, consider a dash less of any sweetener in the cocktail.
What sets them apart from other cocktail cherries is their cooking process. To finish off the cherries, Traverse adds their own whiskey to impart an extra kick of subtle flavor without tasting too boozy.
The blue and white ceramic jar will draw your eye, but the product inside is what will keep you coming back. An Italian-based company, Fabbri Amarena cocktail cherries vary from their counterparts by using smaller and slightly sour cherries. They're slow-cooked, following a century-old recipe that makes the cherries sweet with a tart aftertaste.
The price point could be offputting, however, but they're worth their price tag.
While bearing the same name as the distillery, these cocktail cherries are made by a separate company. They are flavored with the Woodford Reserve bourbon during the cooking process, giving them that signature taste.
The cherries are then jarred while remaining attached to their stems, offering a fancy and unique look to any cocktail. If you don't care for this, it's easy enough to remove while garnishing, or sampling.
As an added bonus, the syrup in which the cocktail cherries are stored can also be used as a simple syrup in cocktails, an intentional choice by the makers. You can use both garnish and syrup when building an old-fashioned, needing only your favorite bourbon and a few dashes of bitters.
Tillen Farms cocktail cherries are made using bing cherries, rather than the maraschino cherries most other cocktail cherries are made with. But they're just as good, if not more flavorful, with their juicy and sweet flavor profile shining through.
They're firm like maraschino cherries but pack additional flavors such as blueberry and apple thanks to the cooking process. As an added bonus, they're not as pricey as their cocktail cherry counterparts.
Garnishes are a fun way to add pizzazz and flavor to cocktails. Like much of the cocktail-making process, taste and preference are subjective, both in visuals and flavor. But with cocktail cherries costing a little more than the average garnish, you may not always want to gamble on a full jar if you're not sure if it's for you or if you'll manage to use all of them. The good news is, however, there's a cocktail cherry for everyone, every cocktail, and every budget.