Chocolate-Bourbon Cocktail Cherries

Door County Wisconsin is famous for it’s cherries. And when my wife and mother-in-law went on a short trip there, I asked them to bring me some back. You see, I had the idea that I wanted to make a yummy garnish for my manhattans and I couldn’t pass this opportunity up.

Chocolate-Bourbon Cocktail Cherries

Chocolate cherry juice

  • 1 cup 100% cherry juice
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt

Bring these ingredients to a boil in a small sauce pan. Allow to cool enough to fish out the cinnamon stick (or leave it in if you want more cinnamon influence). 


  • 1 pint Cherries (I used tart cherries because I like tart cherries, if you don't you might want to try sweet)

Pit the cherries while the Chocolate Cherry Juice cools. Pack them into a wide-mouth one pint mason jar. 


  • 1 cup Bourbon or Rye (I used a 50-50 mixture of Buffalo Trace and Sazerac Rye)
  • 1 splash of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur

Once the Chocolate Cherry Juice has cooled to below 160° or so add the spirits. Mix well and pour over the cherries. You will have too much, reserve the rest for topping up the jar after the Cherries start to absorb it. Store in the refrigerator, shaking occasionally.

These get better with time. I found that after a month the tartness had mellowed and the chocolate and cinnamon had a more subtle influence that integrated better with the other flavors.

Now, I need a manhattan...