July’s overflowing bins of burgundy-hued Bings and blushing Rainiers are cause for celebration. The deep, sunny flavors sum up summer: sweet, bright, and luxurious. But while local cherry season is brief, we’ve recently noticed a flood of preserved fruit dressing up cocktails and showing up as dessert. Here, a few spots that do the stone-fruit justice.

The Bitter Bar
Boulder mixologist James Lee garnishes his cocktails with Italian-imported, Luxardo-brand Marascas. Lush and rich, these beauties are the original maraschino. Bonus: Lee is canning local cherries to make cocktail-worthy garnishes. 835 Walnut St., Boulder (entrance in alleyway between Walnut and Pearl streets), 303-442-3050

D Bar Desserts
Duck into D Bar and order pastry chef Keegan Gerhard’s latest cherry creation. If you’re lucky, you’ll dig into the Black Forest Cake Waffle—a lusty affair of warm chocolate waffles, three-cherry compote (made from Amarena, Griottine, and farmers’ market cherries), Kirsch cream, and chocolate sauce. 1475 E. 17th Ave., 303-861-4710

Sketch Wine Bar
Alongside a simple menu of salumi and cheeses, chef Sean Yontz serves up a dollop of Amarena cherries—a wild, Italian-grown fruit packed in a candylike syrup. A little goes a long way, especially when paired with pieces of Venezuelan chocolate. 101 Broadway (entrance on First Avenue), Unit 103, 303-484-9305

Steuben’s Food Service
Rather than garnishing his cocktails with a throwaway maraschino, bar manager Sean Kenyon favors real Marascas. These small, black cherries are rich and enchanting—making them the perfect foil for a Manhattan or Old Fashioned. Also not to be missed: the super-creamy, cherry-vanilla milk shake. 523 E. 17th Ave., 303-830-1001

This article was originally published in 5280 July 2009.
Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.