Dirty Sue (best known for its bottled olive juice) sent us their cocktail cherries after our big cherry blowout, so naturally we felt we needed to take a fresh look at these filthy little fruits, which are preserved in a mix of sugar, cherry juice, and red currant juice, plus a hint of star anise, vanilla, and Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey.
These are large and fairly dry cherries (Stardust cherries from the Pacific Northwest) that let the firm fruit do much of the initial talking. There’s a big punch of vanilla present, though that feels driven more by the vanilla that’s added rather than the whiskey (the last ingredient on the list). The finish is sweet but still full of bright cherry flavor, making this a nice and approachable upgrade to a traditional maraschino cherry for those who don’t want the intensity of a Maraska-style cocktail cherry. They remind me a lot of Jack Rudy’s cherries, though definitely a bit sweeter.
Refrigerate after opening.
B+ / $18 per 16 oz jar [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]