The key to any cocktails that calls for a cocktail cherry is to use a real cocktail cherry. If the cherries you see aren’t a colour found in nature, then they aren’t real. Use something like Luxardo’s Maraschino Cherries.
You can use simple syrup if you want, but muddling will be more satisfying.
.5 oz. Laphroaig Quarter Cask
1.5 oz. Maker’s Mark
2 dashes aromatic bitters
Lemon peel for garnish
Add a teaspoon of sugar to the bottom of an Old Fashioned glass. Wet it with two dashes of bitters, toss on the cherry, and muddle together. If the sugar doesn’t dissolve completely, add a little water. Add Laphroaig and Maker’s Mark. Stir. Add ice and a garnish.