Unfinished Old Fashioned

What’s one to do with a haul of end-of-season cherries? The last of the bunch, the ones you want to savor for the rest of the year, but dangit, it’s way too hot to bring water to a rolling boil, way too hot to put anything into a pot to cook down and preserve.

Thankfully, I’m not dry. I’m no alcoholic either, but I enjoy a cocktail every night or so–something well crafted and special to sip. And a simple Old Fashioned, my favorite cocktail (sure, sure, compare me to Don Draper…), requires a bourbon or maraschino cherry to top it off.

It takes a little work to make your own maraschino cherries–I’ve found a toothpick one of the easiest ways to pit a cherry (pop in one side and force the pit out–but you could always leave the pit in)–but it’s oh so worth it. And they only take at least two days to soak (though I’m looking forward to the ones that will sit for six months). Just be sure to cover up any clothes you don’t want stained blood red. The kitchen is bound to look like a murder scene if you’re pitting more than just a pint.

As for the cocktail, the Unfinished Old Fashioned? It features white whiskey instead of the traditional bourbon, a lighter whiskey since it’s un-aged–almost like tequila. I used High West Silver Whiskey to make mine–a mix of 85% oats and 15% barley malt–and mixed it with Fee Brothers Orange Bitters and sugar cubes. Simple syrup and any orange bitters will do. Switching up the kind of white whiskey will give different tastes, but I found mine to be refreshing and bright, just a hint of floral orange, and a slightly bitter back end that rounded out the drink. And the cherry, oh the cherry–anything less than a homemade or Luxardo cherry would be a tragedy.

Unfinished Old Fashioned

2 sugar cubes
4 dashes Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
2 oz white whiskey
ice cube
1 maraschino cherry (see recipe below)
lemon peel twist

In an Old Fashioned glass, crush the sugar cubes in the bitters. Add the whiskey and stir to combine. Add the sugar cube and cherry, swirl, and garnish with a lemon peel twist.

Homemade Maraschino Cherries
From The New York Times

1 c maraschino liqueur
1 pint sour cherries, stemmed and pitted

Bring maraschino liqueur to a simmer in a small sauce pot. Turn off heat and add cherries. Let mixture cool, then store in a jar in refrigerator for at least 2 days before using, and up to several months.

10 Responses to “Unfinished Old Fashioned”
  1. eileen says:

    I know what else you can do: make cherry schnapps! I have a jar going right this second. That said, I homemade maraschinos certainly do give a drink a kick–and without a gross corn syrupy aftertaste. :)

  2. That looks so good! I need to get into fancy cocktails.

  3. FoodFeud says:

    Where did you see maraschino liqueur? maybe I haven’t been looking The drink sounds so, so good. I’m really kind of getting into making my own cocktails. It’s a lot of fun and unlike cooking, if you screw it up, it’ll still do the job :)
    I used (part of) the last of my cherries to make a vegan clafoutis today!

    • Jes says:

      Yay for clafoutis!! I haven’t gotten around to making one yet…maybe a plum one soon :)

      I found the liqueur in the liquor store here (a generic Virginia ABC store). I’d bet that pretty much any liquor store up in where you are would have it–just ask the person working there, they’ll know the weird spot it’s hidden.

  4. chow vegan says:

    I’m not much of a drinker, but those Homemade Maraschino Cherries are calling my name. :-)

  5. oh my gosh — amazing! quite the mixmaster!

  6. bumblelush says:

    Oooh great recipe! You’re a mixologist! ;) I’ve got a bunch of cherries that are getting very ripe. Haven’t felt like cooking anything up or baking, but what a great idea to make a cocktail! Hope you’re staying cool.

  7. Barbara says:

    I would love to join you for one of these cocktails, Jes. Sounds like some fine sipping! I love the idea of making your own maraschino cherries. I have some fresh cherries I was thinking of doing in brandy. Another easy way to pit cherries (this I found after recently making a fresh cherry pie) is to use a new hairpin – pop the larger end in the stem end of the cherry and out comes the pit!

  8. blueridgebluecollargirl says:

    I know I’ve said this before, but I really love your food photography. I’m not much of a drinker, but your picture of the old-fashioned with the cherry at the bottom was so pretty it made me want that drink.

  9. Love it! one more way to make something at home and local too! Three cheers. (or maybe bottoms up!)

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