Cherries. Our neighbors to the north in Oregon have spent the last century and a half turning cherry growing into an industry. We should take advantage of their expertise and grow our own. Look for dwarf varieties that could easily be covered in bird netting if you find yourself competing for the harvest. Garden centers often sell grafted “combo” trees with three or four varieties growing from the same trunk. Sounds weird, but it’s really smart: you’ll get a longer harvest season that way. The best cocktail cherries are dark, sour varieties, also called tart or pie cherries. English Morello and Montmorency are good varieties to try.
The easiest way to make use of these in a cocktail is to clean them, pit them, and soak them in Luxardo maraschino liqueur for a couple of weeks. If you’re not going to get around to that, you’ll be pleased to know that real Luxardo maraschino cherries are available by the jar at better liquor stores.