Cherries.... I always hated those things...
To many people who know me, they know I am not in to sweet things. I usually do not care for sweet drinks (although the right occasion sometimes calls for them!) and I usually have no interest in dessert. I like to tell people when I eat out that when I am asked if I am interested in having anything for desert I'll say give me another steak. So I usually steered away from sweet things and that included fruit.
My admonishment for all things fruit also goes back to how I grew up eating fruits in general. I grew up in a very Northern climate that was also very far from typical fruit growing regions in North America. Fresh fruit was not common. Cherries to me were always a rare thing. I did seem to make an exception for citrus.
My first impression with cherries was... it was those bright red things that came in a jar. It was what you found on a banana split at the Dairy Queen. They were bright red almost florescent soaked in a sickly disgusting syrup that was filled with lots of artificial flavoring.
I absolutely HATED them, they were repulsive.
So to this day when it comes to cocktails, the cocktail cherry is something that I really despise. People still use those sickly corn-syrupy artificial red dye things. I ranted about this in my Old Fashioned video. So many times when I was at a bar asking for a Manhattan I would constantly tell them to not put cherries in my glass. However, after moving to an area with a better change of produce in season, I discovered cherries actually were different.
My wife came home from the farmers market with a bag of cherries. The first thing I noticed was how DARK they were. "What are these?" I asked her.. she looked at me as if I had three heads. "They're CHERRIES... try one." And I discovered that in season cherries I really liked.
So I would throw those in cocktails and they'd hit the spot, occasionally I'd make a cherry syrup, but the problem was they wouldn't stick around. I figured well that was it... no cocktail cherries for me any more, but I somehow felt there was a way around this. And boy was there ever.
Enter the picture above. I read and found out about these cherries that come from Italy. They are wild and selected Amarena Fabbri cherries. These... are just perfect. I know feel I can but these in my glass and not be disgusted. They tasted absolutely divine, not too sweet, great texture, almost alcohol brandy like, and they look like the real thing.
So all is not lost, and the imbibing world just got a little better, so this time, pretty please make a Manhattan, with Fabbri Wild Cherry on top!