Cherry Cocktails: From Simple Garnish to Star Ingredient

Cherries have long been known as a way to pretty up a drink or to top a dessert. However, there's so much more to these tasty fruits. 

We've compiled 5 recipes for scrumptious cherry-infused cocktails that will leave you craving more!

Alcohol and Cherries: A Match Made in Heaven

As summer rolls around, it's the perfect time to take advantage of the tons of cherries available. Whether you use it in desserts or preserves, cherries' sweetness (or tartness) and bright red color will delight the senses. It's no wonder this fruit has become a go-to garnish!

Although cherries are an excellent garnish for summer drinks or on top of your ice cream sundae, these fruits are also perfect with alcohol in cocktails. With a unique flavor, the cherry gets along with almost every liquor under the sun.

One of the more common cherry/alcohol combinations is cherry and brandy. The two work so well together that distilleries make cherry brandy liqueurs. These days, you can also get cherry gin, cherry rum, and cherry whiskey – not to mention cherry bourbon cocktails!

How to Infuse Cherry Flavor Into a Cocktail

Whether it's a boozy milkshake or a classic Manhattan, a cherry finishes off any drink and gives it a bright punch of color. Dark cocktail cherries are the ultimate for use in drinks. Soaked with brandy or other spirits, this tiny fruit goes all the way to boost your beverage.

Cherries can either be sweet or tart, directly affecting how you use them in a cocktail. A tart cherry like a Morello or a Montmorency is more commonly used in cocktails. They are smaller and hold their flavor when they're preserved.

Tiki-style cocktails often incorporate cherry-flavored liqueurs like cherry bourbon or brandy. The tartness of the cherry helps balance out the other fruit or spicy notes that typically make these favorite poolside cocktails. 

From cherry juice to cherry liqueur to garnishes, the best cocktail cherries inject spectacular flavor into cocktails of all kinds. Let's look at a few of the choice cherry alcohol combinations you can make right now!

Cherry Cocktails: 5 Recipes You Can Make at Home

#1. Cherry Bourbon Sour 

This cherry bourbon cocktail offers the perfect balance of a cherry’s sweet, sour, and tart flavors. Bourbon gives this drink a smokey balance, which finishes it off nicely. 


  • 2 c. of cherries (pitted)
  • 2 lemons (juiced)
  • 3 limes (juiced)
  • 1/2 c. of grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 c. of cherry juice (Maraschino)
  • 1/2 c. of bourbon
  • 1/4 c. of brandy
  • 1/2 c. of simple syrup


Add pitted cherries, lemon, and lime juice with simple syrup to a large bowl. Mash the contents with a potato masher to thoroughly mash the cherries. Next, add the bourbon, brandy, and Maraschino cherry juice. Stir well. 

Pour this mixture into a pitcher filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry, serve and enjoy!

#2. Chocolate Covered Cherry Martinis

A chocolate-covered cherry decadent drink delight. This martini has the sweet and sour paired perfectly to help you get your chocolate and cherry fix on!


For 2 martinis:

  • 3 oz. of vanilla vodka
  • 3 oz. of Amaretto
  • 3 oz. of Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 3 oz. of Kahlua
  • 3 oz. of chocolate syrup
  • 4 tsp. Maraschino cherry juice (from the jar)
  • 2 Maraschino cherries 


In the freezer, chill two martini glasses for roughly 10 to 15 mins. Remove glasses from the freezer and place a Maraschino cherry at the bottom of each glass. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, Irish cream, Kahlua, and chocolate syrup. 

Shake for roughly 40 seconds or until chilled. Pour into your glasses. Add the maraschino cherry juice, then garnish with a cocktail pick that has a few cherries on it. Serve and enjoy!

#3. Cherry Moscow Mule

This cocktail is a decadent cherry version of the Moscow Mule. It ramps up the classic cocktail and makes it one of the most popular sweet cherry mixed drinks.


  • 2 limes
  • 2 c. of ginger beer
  • 8 oz. of chilled vodka
  • 4 Tbsp. cherry sauce (to make, follow the instructions below)
  • Crushed ice
  • Limes and cherries for garnish


In a copper mug, squeeze half of a cut lime into it – spoon 4 tbsp of the cherry sauce into the mugs, then 2 oz. of vodka. Stir until well mixed. Add ice and half of a cup of ginger beer into each mug. Stir again carefully to mix. 

Garnish with cherries and lime slices, serve, and enjoy!

How to make the cherry sauce:

  • 2 c. of frozen or fresh cherries
  • 1/2 c. of water
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. of granulated sugar

Add the cherries, water, and sugar together in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat until it boils. Cook for roughly 10 minutes, frequently stirring and smashing the cherries until they break down. 

Once cooked, place in a blender and blend carefully until the contents are smooth. Pour into a jar and store in a refrigerator until the continents are cold.

#4. Pineapple Cherry Rum Punch

A delicious and colorful tropical cocktail recipe made with pineapple and the juice of Maraschino cherries. Drinks like this are best enjoyed on a hot summer day by the pool!


  • 2 oz. of cherry juice (from the jar)
  • 4 oz. of pineapple juice
  • 2 oz. of light rum
  • Garnish with Maraschino cherries and fresh pineapple slices
  • Ice


Pour the cherry juice into a cocktail glass, then add about 5 or 6 cubes of ice. You can dress up the pitcher's aesthetics more by making perfectly round ice balls with an ice ball maker

Next, add your rum, then add the pineapple juice; pour it very slowly to get the desired effect of the ombre color. Garnish with the pineapple and maraschino cherries, serve and enjoy!

#5. Black Cherry Champagne Floats

A fresh and sweet combination of cherry and champagne. Perfect for an afternoon brunch in the late summer.


  • 12 pitted cherries
  • 6 tsp. of cherry liqueur
  • 1 p. of vanilla ice cream 
  • 4 to 6 c. of champagne


Slice your cherries into quarters and place them to the bottom of one glass 24 of those quarters. Pour 2 teaspoons of the cherry liqueurs on top and over the cherries. Carefully place one large scoop of the ice cream over the liqueur and cherries. 

To finish off the drink:

  1. Drizzle about 1 teaspoon of the cherry liqueur over the ice cream.
  2. Add 2 to 4 more scoops of the ice cream to your glass until it reaches the top of it.
  3. Pour the champagne over the ice cream, serve with a straw and a cocktail spoon, and enjoy!

The Cherry on Top 

Using cherries for drinks can be more than decorative. Cherries have the perfect shape and size to fit nicely into a drink or onto a cocktail pick, but they also pack a powerful flavor punch. 

These tiny fruits can pair with any alcohol and add a ton of taste to a fun cocktail! You can enjoy freshly picked cherries during the height of summer, but cherry-flavored drinks are great for any time of the year.