It’s cherry season and I am thrilled; cherry pies, cherry tarts, cherry chutney and all things cherry.

I love the ruby colored beauties and cannot get enough. I live in the Midwest and am a cherry pit’s spitting distance from the cherry capital of the US.  Woo-hoo!

I buy flats of the gorgeous fruit at my local farmer’s market, pit them with my handy dandy cherry pitter (easily found online and worth the small investment if you love cherries) and then bake them into delicious treats. I also freeze the cherries and can pull out the complexly flavored stash throughout the year and bring back a taste of summer into my baking and savory dishes.

Fresh cherries taste completely different than canned cherries. They are brightly flavored and pair well with chocolate, citrus fruits and fresh herbs.

They also make a killer modern version of a Manhattan. For you next cocktail party, go retro-cool with this updated Manhattan.

Updated Manhattan

2 fresh cherries, pitted


5 ounces bourbon (I use Maker’s Mark)

½ ounce fresh cherry juice (pit your fresh cherries and lightly smash them to make fresh juice)

½ ounce sweet vermouth

Dash of bitters

  1. Place the cherries in favorite cocktail glasses.
  2. Place all remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice.
  3. STIR the cocktail until very cold and strain into glasses.
Laura Frankel is an Executive Chef at Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and author of numerous kosher cookbooks including Jewish Cooking for All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. To purchase her books, click here.
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