Cocktail Cherries

July 28, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 1 pint
Author Notes

This is the perfect cocktail cherry. Period.

I like to pit the cherries by hand—standard cherry pitters are made for larger fruit and always destroy the delicate little guys. I use a safety pin to push the pit out from the bottom. —Erik Lombardo

What You'll Need
  • 1 pint pitted sour cherries
  • 1 pint fruity vinegar, like cider or Champagne
  • 1 pint granulated sugar
  1. Pour the vinegar over the pitted cherries and let them sit overnight.
  2. The next day, drain, reserving the infused vinegar for other purposes (it’s great in salad dressing).
  3. Layer the drained, pickled cherries with the sugar in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place, stirring regularly, until all of the sugar is dissolved, usually 4 to 7 days.
  4. Store in clean glass jars, and check the seals regularly for any sign of mold or mildew. Make sure when you store them that the cherries are completely covered by the shrub.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Deena Walter Marcellus
    Deena Walter Marcellus
  • Gloria Garcia
    Gloria Garcia
  • Chris Biermann
    Chris Biermann
  • Daniel Ramirez
    Daniel Ramirez
  • PattyTatTat

13 Reviews

Deena W. June 10, 2020
Has anyone tried this with rainier cherries? They’re more tart than bing, but the yellow color might make them look weird. Anyone try?
Nibbles July 17, 2023
I did try! They were tasty but looked like eyeballs suspending in hoo! Haha would be great for a Halloween party
Gloria G. May 22, 2018
Would this work with regular (not sour) cherries? I'm worried they'll turn out too sweet..
Nibbles July 17, 2023
My husband actually prefers the Bing. And I think they hold up a little better as they are firmer
Chris B. August 22, 2017
The cherries taste all vinegar-y even after the sugar sucked it out. Is there a way to fix this? I don't want a vinegar-y cherry in my Manhattans.
Daniel R. June 15, 2017
Trying these tonight. Making one batch just as the recipe but using some brown sugar, and another I'm going to cold smoke. Not sure if I will smoke the sugar or the final product... We'll see how it turns out.
MsJoanie May 10, 2016
Has anyone tried to can these? I know the "cooking" would change the texture of the cherries somewhat, but perhaps not much, to really preserve them for longer?
PattyTatTat May 10, 2016
To Eric Lombardo - my mom (and now me also) take a clean, small, paper clip, open it up 1 bend, keeping the 2 bent ends), and use the smaller bent end to slip into the stem area and scoop out the pit and stem - which often is attached to the pit. The larger still bent part of the paper clip is what you hold to maneuver the home made "cherry pitter". You can get going pretty fast once you find your rhythm!
Berkland September 18, 2015
Is there anyway to make this using dried cherries? They are widely available year-round and I saw this too late for fresh cherries this year
PattyTatTat September 16, 2015
Oh dear, cherry season has been over for 2 months where I live. This would have been perfect in July - we planted a Montmorency cherry tree a few years ago and it had a nice little harvest this year.
cindy August 11, 2015
Question: can I use cherries which have been frozen? And if so, I assume I would thaw them before soaking in vinegar? Would using frozen cherries alter the texture? I have frozen, pitted cherries in my freezer (ones I bought fresh and pitted myself) that I would love to use for this!!
IndustrialGastronomy August 12, 2015
Freezing makes the water in the cherries expand and break the cell walls of the fruit. When you thaw them they will be mushy. They are still great for pies and baking.
Jackien August 8, 2015
What is the shelf life?