For me, early June comes with two certainties: 1) I will buy way too many fresh cherries, and 2) I will bet—and lose—on horses. On Saturday these fates crossed paths: I found myself with a few pounds of perfectly ripe cherries and a stack of $2 betting receipts (I gamble like a miser) for the Belmont Stakes. As the horses were walked to the starting gate, I threw together a quick, cherry-inspired cocktail (see below). When my horse (Tiago) let me down, I drank it. Then I made two quarts of maraschino cherries (ridiculously easy bonus recipe, see below) and a giant cherry cobbler (I forgot to write down the recipe, sorry).

Cherry Smash

Makes 1 drink

This drink tastes like cherry soda mixed with whiskey, with a bonus prize (muddled cherries) at the bottom of the glass. If you don't have Cherry Heering (a Danish cherry liqueur), use maraschino liqueur or, better yet, the juice left over from your homemade maraschino cherries.

8 sour cherries, pitted


2 ounces bourbon

3/4 ounce Cherry Heering

Club soda

In a rocks glass, gently muddle the cherries to release some of their juices. Fill the glass with ice, add the bourbon and Cherry Heering and stir well. Top with club soda, stir again and serve.

Homemade Maraschino Cherries: These cherries are much, much better than the too-sweet, dyed-red variety you find in jars at the supermarket. Simply fill a sterilized jar with pitted fresh sour cherries and top with maraschino liqueur (such as Luxardo or Maraska brands). Place in the refrigerator and wait: The cherries will begin absorbing the maraschino flavor (and the liqueur will pick up a fresh cherry flavor) after a couple of days. Discard the cherries when they start to become mushy, about 2 weeks.