The Cherry Rumtini

A local ice cream parlor puts cherries on its sundaes. But not some crappy maraschino cherry*. They have their cherries flown in from Italy, and they’re so fantastic I bought some, and had to find other uses for them so I don’t have to eat so much ice cream! What I came up with a buddy says I should call “The Amazing Martini”! The recipe is below.

First, the Right Cherries

The Amarena cherry is a variety of prunus cerasus developed by Gennaro Fabbri (born 1869 in Bologna, Italy). His wife Rachele picked the cherries and slowly cooked and semi-candied them in copper pots. Gennaro, in turn, bought a ceramic jar from Riccardo Gatti, an artist from Faenza, to store what she made. They had to buy a lot of those white and blue ceramic jars, because the couple started commercial production of those candied cherries in 1905, naturally naming the brand Fabbri.

The company is still family-owned today, and the cherries still come in the beautiful blue and white ceramic jar. They’re a great combination of tartness and sweetness, and slam your tastebuds with intense cherry flavor.

I was immediately hooked.

WHERE?!

I asked Torben, the ice cream man at Cafe Ridgway a la Mode, where he gets them. He imports them from Italy, he told me: they’re on auto-ship. Hm. “Can you get them from Amazon?” I asked. He stopped cold, looking at me for a long moment. He stepped over to his computer, which was already sitting on the counter, and started typing.

“I’ll be damned,” he said — they have them! “How’s the cost?” He looked at the screen, picked up the jar from the counter to look at the size, and looked back at the screen. About the same, he said. “Even with shipping?” Yep.

I went straight home and ordered a jar — with free shipping since I have Prime. Not as cheap as the grocery store crap: about $20 for a 21-ounce jar, but 21 ounces is a lot, since they’re so flavorful you’ll only want a couple-few at a time. (Don’t have prime? Just add more items until you get to the minimum for free shipping. I’ll recommend a second jar, or maybe a couple of martini glasses….)

They arrived two days later, heavily packed to keep the jar safe. Since then, I’ve had some every … single … day! I’ll toss some in my breakfast cereal. I’ll mix them in with other cut fruit. And, yes, anytime I have ice cream, I throw a couple on that, too.

But I Wanted Another Way to Have Some!

How maraschinos are made, per WikipediaNaturally, I quickly got the idea to put them in my favorite cocktail, a vodka martini. You’d think that would be great, but no: I didn’t like it very much at all. The sweetness was washed away by the vodka, and the tartness was intensely pronounced. Not quite what I had in mind.

So I thought about it: what would compliment the sweetness? What would it “naturally” go with?

How about …a different kind of sweetness?

Then it hit me.

Rum!

The next night, I pulled out my favorite sipping rum: Zaya, an amazing blend produced in Trinidad and Tobago that’s reasonably priced for what it is. Of course, other rums of high enough quality to sip straight would be fine too, like Diplomatico Reserva (from Venezuela).

I poured some over ice, tossed in a few cherries with a little of their syrup, and stirred.

And it was fantastic.

I texted my buddy Bill, who loves food and drink even more than I do, to say he needed to come over and try it. It was late, and I went to bed. The next morning I had a reply text: “When?” Whenever you get here, buddy!

The Recipe, with a Refinement

Before Bill could get here, I came up with a refinement that took the drink from fantastic to amazing. When Bill tasted it, he agreed: I should call it The Amazing Martini, he said — “You could patent this!”

Well, probably not, so let me simply share it with you! Here’s the recipe I came up with, which I split into two martini glasses, one for each of us:

Cherry Rumtini
2 parts fine rum, such as Zaya
1 part Amaretto (I use Disaronno Originale, which also happens to be made in Italy)
Shake vigorously with ice in cocktail shaker
Pour over 3 cherries in about a teaspoon of their juice, and stir.

Not a drinker? You probably want some of these cherries anyway, for your cereal, fruit, or ice cream.

Are a drinker? Try this. Or just put these into an Old Fashioned.

Trust Me: once you’ve had these, you won’t want a factory-made maraschino ever again.


Note: I was not asked to, let alone paid to, run this “review”/recipe. I only recommend products I personally enjoy: I bought my own cherries, and am presenting this recipe to bring something tasty to the world. If you buy the cherries from Amazon using the link here, I’ll get a small kickback from Amazon for sending you their way, which won’t affect the price you pay.

10 thoughts on “The Cherry Rumtini

  1. Will share this with our kids and will try it myself.

    Thanks for sharing!

    I’m guessing your kids aren’t in grade school. 🙂 -rc

  2. As a former investigator, I had an opportunity to observe how maraschino cherries are made. Consequently, I have refused to have any of them since. I have requested my drinks or confections be served with no ‘cherries’ and returned them when my instructions were forgotten or ignored.

    These cherries I want to try!

    I made some ‘preserved’ cherries myself a few years ago. Some Rare Breed, a small amount of ginger and fresh cherries I picked from the trees in Ferndale, Washington. Warm it all on the stove and poured into a jar to keep. These were soooo good. Not sweet, but well infused with the whiskey.

  3. “This item does not ship to Australia.” Damn!

    Sorry! But maybe you can find a specialty food store in your area that can get them. -rc

  4. Mmm, sounds good.

    I will have to get some to Australia anyway and try in my favorite cherry recipe:

    • Drain all fluid from the jar they come in.
    • Fill the jar with a good chocolate rum liqueur so that cherries are totally covered.
    • Let sit for at least 90 days (check the fluid level regularly and replenish as required).
    • Enjoy with fresh real cream.


    Yep, that sounds very good! -rc

  5. I am amused/puzzled by the trend to call a cocktail a “Martini” when it has no ingredients in common with an actual martini. It is perfectly acceptable to give a new drink recipe a name that does not end with “tini”.

    The cherries sound wonderful. I’ll try the drink, but I’ll give it a new name.

    Let me know what you come up with. -rc

  6. I ordered these from Amazon, they came promptly and well packed. You’re right, they are delicious! I haven’t tried them in Rum yet (gotta go get a bottle of the good stuff) but I have tried them on ice cream and I see why that ice cream parlor uses them — Amazing!

  7. Read about the cherries this morning. Went to Amazon via your link and made the mistake of only adding them to my cart, thinking I might purchase something else later today. Came back tonight to find the price jumped 2 to 3 dollars. Hope to try them sometime but won’t order today. This is why Amazon sometimes leaves a sour taste in my mouth!

    That’s not Amazon, that’s the seller that’s using Amazon to take orders. When there’s a rush of orders (e.g., something mentioned in a popular blog), the seller will often boost the price — especially if they have limited stock. When the rush is over, they’ll usually lower it again. My first jar was $19.32. I decided to get a second before the blog post came out, and it was $18.30 when I put it in my cart …and $18.15 when I checked out 2 minutes later! As I approve this comment, they’re $19.88, from a high (that I saw, anyway: I looked after I posted the blog entry) of $21 & change. -rc

    • Glad I waited, Randy! Here it is just a few hours later and the price went from $21.52 down to $18.23! So sweet I can almost taste it! And I will in 2 days!

      Thanks for your original suggestion of the cherries and explanation to my previous post!

      My pleasure, and nice to know TRUE still has a little power in the vast online marketplace! 😀 -rc

  8. Just checked Amazon. (Sunday 9 Sept, 11:00 am PDT)

    The prices are interesting.

    The 21 oz. Fabbri jar is offered by SimplyBeautiful and JF Distributions. (And a few others, much higher $)

    It looks like JF Distributions had to lower their price (some at $24.99, then more at $21.92), and then SimplyBeautiful priced it 1 penny lower ($21.91) (both Fulfillment by Amazon, including Prime). You’ve got to love competition. Perhaps it will get back down in the $19 range.

    I was also intrigued by a link to two jars of the same brand for less — but found they are smaller jars. A pair of 8.1 oz jars is as cheap as $15.99 ($8.00/Item), in case you want smaller jars. These look like smaller jars, and are marketed as a “2 pack” on the main page.

    Again, JF Distributions and SimplyBeautiful are within 13 cents of each other, but the cheapest at the moment is from Yummy Bazaar.

    But, mostly, I look forward to the cherry-amaretto-rum “martini” you’ve designed, Randy.

    And, your link leads to the currently-cheapest ($21.91) — so I’ll be buying it from your link and leaving you the $ credit. Thanks!

    In the time it took to type my comment, JF Distributions lowered it 8 cents and SimplyBeautiful lowered it 8 cents to stay below them. When competition becomes like watching a tennis match!

    Man, I’m getting thirsty for that cherry/rum “martini”.

    BTW — I greatly enjoy Mt Gay Barbadan rum. Their Eclipse line is very nice, and commonly available, but they also have some jaw-dropping blends, like their “Extra Old”. (I haven’t ponied up for their “1703 Master Select” yet… I will try some Mt Gay with these terrific-sounding cherries.

    I see the two 8.1oz jars for $16, but it’s not Prime shipping, so who knows how long it’ll take to get them? It’s one of the things I really like about Amazon: when they ship, it’s quick! And yeah, it’s amazing to see how often the prices change on popular items, especially when there is more than one seller. Don’t like a price? Wait a few hours…!

    Zaya (750ml) is about $32 in my area, and is good enough to sip neat, with a nicely rounded vanilla profile. I haven’t tried the Mount Gay. The reviews I’ve seen of Eclipse make me think it’s lower end, but Extra Old looks like it might be good. Thanks for the tip. -rc

  9. Randy I clicked on the arrow after the pricing from the Yummy Bazaar and their claim is if ordered today, they will arrive between Wed. 9/12-Thur. 9/13.

    Not bad! -rc

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