Food & Drink

Supercall Labs: Liquor-Infused Cherries

Maraschino cherries are great (especially when you opt for the artisanal version over the syrupy, neon red sugar globs), but sometimes the liqueur-soaked treat just doesn’t have the punch you need. Introducing hard liquor-infused cherries, a step up in both boozy content and DIY bragging rights.

We here at Supercall Labs don’t believe any liquor-infused project should require more than three steps: Add liquor, wait, enjoy. So far, the strategy has worked with both cookout condiments and sundae toppers, so we took the same approach with our cherries.

We plopped the fruits—pits, stems and all—into five jars filled with five different spirits (vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey and gin) and let them soak. We then tasted them after 36 hours, 72 hours and one week. The little stone fruits soaked up the alcohol way more effectively than expected, yielding little boozy bombs that are not for the faint of heart (or liver).

Here, the play-by-play of our booze-infused cherry experiment.

36 Hours

After 36 hours, the rum-infused cherries took on a mellow apple taste, even provoking one confirmed rum-hater to admit, “I like rum again.” Gin was also relatively popular, delivering unhindered fruit flavor better than any other infusion. Whiskey tasted like a strong Old Fashioned. And the tequila and vodka versions could generously be described as cough syrup.

Verdict: Rum (You should probably just stop here.)

72 Hours

An extra day and a half made a dramatic difference, escalating the liquor flavor and almost annihilating the taste of cherry in all the infusions. While rum remained the best of the bunch, the pleasing mixture of sugary, apple-esque flavors were gone, replaced by a serious rum kick. Gin left just enough hint of cherry to make us long for more of the fruit’s essence, but the sharp alcohol bite dissuaded us from sampling further. The whiskey and tequila cherries transformed into straight up edible booze. Even the vodka cherries were overcome by the flavor of the traditionally neutral spirit.

Verdict: Rum (But not as good as before.)

1 Week

We had our doubts about how the weeklong soak would turn out after tasting the cherries after just 72 hours. Terror gripped us as we fished the saturated cherries out of the jars. But the stone fruit gods smiled upon us. Somehow, the cherries caught their second wind.

The rum-infused cherries still proved the best match—though not quite as good as the first round—with a warm, round flavor. As for the tequila cherries, the profound alcoholic burn was still there, but the aftertaste gave way to tequila’s sweeter notes. Both the vodka and gin cherries had a jarring, acrid, alcoholic bite, which failed to mesh with the cherry notes—but at least the cherry notes were there. Alas, the whiskey-cherries were still just edible whiskey.

Verdict: Rum (Still not as good as the first round, but certainly better than the second round.)

But wait, there’s more!

Bonus Test: Infused Liquors

Along with the infused cherries came their bathwater: cherry-infused spirits. While all the liquor flavors were flooding into the cherries, the cherry flavors were fleeing into the soaking liquid. What delightful displacement! 

Just as the rum-infused cherries reigned supreme, so did the the cherry-rum. It was buttery and fruity and all-night-drinkable. The gin and whiskey didn’t transform quite as much as the rum, but were as tasty and sippable as any commercial fruit-infused spirit. Tequila and vodka didn’t benefit quite as much from the infusion process, muscling out the cherry flavors. But they were not bad, all things considered.

Verdict: Rum (Are you sensing a pattern?)