Patrick and I had a great manhattan at Balboa Cafe in the Marina District, San Francisco two months ago and what made it special was their in-house brandied cherries. The cherries they had were delicious, refreshing, and just the right amount of sweetness. Patrick found this great recipe online and he made a jar with brandy and a jar with bourbon. Both jars turned out fantastic and up to par in comparison to Balboa Cafe!
If you are trying to figure out the best way to preserve cherries, definitely consider this option. Here's Patrick's version of the brandied cherries:
Patrick's Homemade Brandied Cherries
Recipe adapted from ErichPryde's on StraightBourbon.com.
1 lb cherries (pitted - I highly recommend this great cherry pitter on Amazon)
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 cinnamon stick
2 dashes vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
2 cup brandy
2 regular mason jars
Combine the brandy, sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon juice, and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir over medium heat and boil just until until the sugar dissolves. Add the cherries and cook for a minute or two. Let the cherries cool briefly, then pour it into a mason jar. Let it age in the fridge for at least a week.