Think you know cocktail cherries? Think again. Those saccharine-sweet, cheery red orbs sitting atop a hot fudge sundae aren’t necessarily the best thing for behind your home bar.
According to Robert F. Moss, author of Southern Spirits: Four Hundred Years of Drinking in the American South, prohibition made the original maraschino cherries—imported from Europe and preserved in spirits—illegal in the United States. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture eventually allowed cherries preserved in other ways to be sold under the maraschino name, and things went downhill from there. What resulted was the American version of the Maraschino cherry—sweetened with sugar, flavored with almond extract, and dyed bright red.
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