One other note. Andy doesn't have a sweet tooth like me, so he prefers his Manhattan neat (with dry vermouth instead of sweet) and will forgo the cherry, as you will see. I will argue that no longer makes it a Manhattan (Andy disagrees), but who cares. All that matters is that you are happy with the drink in your hand. Here is Andy's note:
Just read your latest blog on and enjoyed it very much. You're right--sour cherry season is upon us and you have to get them before it's too late. I can give you a couple of additional bits of info because I've been making maraschino cherries for the past couple of years myself:
(1) No need to warm them. I tried batches that I heated first and those that I just put in the jar with the liqeur. If there was any difference at all (and I don't think there was much), I enjoyed the ones I didn't warm more. The warmed ones are just ready a week or so earlier. Also, I'd keep each of them at least a week before using.
(2) I also tried it with bourbon--Makers Mark. Warmed and cooled. (You know me, an engineer through it all. I went through the whole scientific method with these things, labeling lots of different jars.) I thought that would work great, but I didn't like the results at all. Don't waste your time and money on that. Stick with the maraschino.
(3) Heretically, I've grown to prefer an orange twist with my Manhattans in place of the cherry. I know this is heresy--I admit it, and feel free to burn me at the stake. But I think it's a very refreshing change of pace. Grapefruit twist as well. I like to mix it up between cherry sessions. Variety is the spice of life.
(4) Alexis *loves* the cherries. So it gives me an excuse to put 2 into every Manhattan. To share. And because it means that everyone is happy when I drink my Manhattan!
My sincerest thanks to Andy for letting me share the results of his research with you and a toast to his generosity! I just might have to try that orange twist.