Alexandra Whitney


This showcases the most recent work from Alexandra Whitney.

Maraschino Cherries & Grenadine || Cocktail Series

So this week I'm taking you away from the traditional cocktails and talking a little about a garnish. I'll be doing this a few more time during this series, but today we start off with Maraschino Cherries. Side story here for a bit. I love cocktail cherries. I don't know why, but I do. When I was a kid I would put them on every sundae and request them every time I would go out and get a Shirley Temple (which was few but they are still a secret/not secret favorite of mine). When I went out a few weeks ago I ordered the basic whiskey sour and request extra cherries so I would get to indulge.

So a few weeks ago, when dining at a local distillery, I noticed that their cherries were different. Not the neon red color that you find in ice cream shops and stocked at every bar, but deep red cherries that tasted like pomegranate. I became obsessed. I came home and researched like a crazy person. And sure enough, you can make cocktail cherries out of pomegranate.

A little history for you folks. Maraschino Cherries have a Croatian origin.  They come from Marasca cherries and the region would preserved their cherries in the maraschino liquor (they would mash the cherries and ferment them). It was literally a way to keep the large quantities of cherries and so they wouldn't go bad. (also it was sold to other regions as a delicacy). For many years the maraschino cherry was only known to the wealthy, until later when cocktail cherries were preserved in other liquors (literally anything from vodka to brandy to gin depending the region). When it came over to America it had a few good years until prohibition and then it slowly became what we know in the states as the neon red super sweet cherry you can top a child's ice cream. 

So what does maraschino cherries and grenadine have in common? Maybe nothing (in the traditional sense of true maraschino cherries). If you wanted the real stuff, literally pit cherries and pour  maraschino (Luxardo) over them and wait a few days. You have the real deal then. But these, these that I have made are slightly different. They are new meets old. They are sweet but savory. They remind you of hot days and strong drinks. They are soaked in grenadine. 

Grenadine is pretty basic. It comes from the french word grenade which means pomegranate. Grenadine is non-alcoholic (that's the recipe below) but to add as the syrup for the cherries you can add a liqueur. It keeps for about a week to a month and is strong.  I have some in my fridge now and I add it to drinks often but sometimes to salad dressings to round out/make it a bit interesting. 

What I love about soaking cherries in grenadine is that it works in double time. You can make two cocktail staples from scratch in the same pot. So it's homemade and quick (sortof, most of the time is just hanging out wait for it to thicken). This isn't something I would say do everything week or even every month. This is a once a year activity. When the cherries come in off the trees (maybe you picked them or maybe your grocery store had a sale). But it's definitely a must to try out.

PS - The above is my first stop motion, so show me a little love with a comment or visiting/subscribing to my youtube channel!


  • 4 cups pomegrante juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 peels of a lemon
  • In a pan, mix all ingredients over medium heat. You want this to slightly boil down. It should boil off some of the water and become slightly syrupy, but still running. I know this is vague but put a spoon in the mixutre while its heating. If it starts running off the back of the spoon slightly that's when you take the pan off the heat. Cool, then store in a sealed container for up to a month.

Maraschino Cherries

  • 10 oz jaming jar
  • 6-8 oz of cherries, pitted with stems still attached
  • 2 oz (plus) grenadine
  • 2 oz of spirits/liquor - Luxardo/vodka/gin (optional)
  • Combine all in jar (easier if you put the cherries in first then the liquids). Make sure you fulling cover the cherries n the grenadine/liquor. Seal or boil if keeping longer than a month. Store in a dry dark place or in the fridge! Wait about a week for the full favor to kick in!