The answer, depending on who you speak to, is “all the time, forever, in everything, please,” or “never, gross, ew.” I’m ashamed to admit that I fall in the former camp. Despite the fact that maraschino cherries are deeply tacky and their texture is kind of gross when you stop and think about it (kind of formaldehyde-preserved and weirdly chewy and slimy all at once), they’re the fruit equivalent of a Hostess cupcake — completely separate from the real thing they’re imitating, but desirable in their own right.
So we’ll raise a glass to the Mercurochrome red, strange, almond-scented “cherries” that end up in the bottom of our highball glasses. Typically, we associate maraschinos with the most famous mocktail of them all: the Shirley Temple. They’re also staples of the maraschino Manhattan, daiquiri, Tom Collins, amaretto sour, and whiskey sour. Of course, if you’re making a cocktail that involves whipped cream, feel free to throw a cherry on top of those, too. You can even throw a little of the maraschino juice in if you’re making a tropical drink.
If you’re so in love with maraschinos that you’d readily eat them as a cake, we’ve got you covered on that point, too.