Sterilize the mason jars and warm the lids. [I like to keep my sterilized jars in a slightly warm oven so that when they are filled with the hot liquid, they do not suffer shock.]
Clean, stem and pit the cherries.
In a pot over medium heat, combine the sugar, water, maple syrup, and lemon juice, and 2 cinnamon sticks [optional].
Stir this mixture hard until the sugar dissolves and then bring up to a gentle boil.
Add the cherries to the pot, bring to a simmer and simmer on low for 5-7 minutes.
Remove the boiled cinnamon sticks from the liquid and compost.
Add 1/8 to a 1/4 cup spirits and 1 fresh cinnamon stick to each pint jar, 1/16 to 1/8 cup spirit and 1/2 cinnamon stick to each half-pint jar, or 1 tbs spirits and 1/3 cinnamon stick to each quarter-pint jar. [Cinnamon sticks are optional.]
Use a slotted spoon to remove the cherries from the syrup, and pack them into the jars fairly firmly but without crushing, leaving about 3/4 in headspace in the top.
Top the jars with the remaining sugar-syrup, leaving about 1/2 inch headspace at the top of each jar. [1/4 inch is find for the quarter-pint jars.]
At this point, if you don't want to properly can your cherries in a boiling water bath, allow them to sit on a counter and cool. Then, refrigerate for two weeks before opening. Consume within 6-8 weeks after opening.
Seal the jars with lids and rims and process in the boiling water bath for 25 minutes. [20 minutes is fine for the quarter-pint jars.]
Take the top off of the canning bath, turn off the heat, and leave the jars to sit in the canner for 5 more minutes.
Remove the jars upright from the canner, place on wire racks or a protected surface, and allow to cool completely. Check for a good seal on the lid. Gently remove screw caps. Wipe and dry the jars and replace the rims [not too tightly.]
Label and store in a cool dark place. Leave the jars for at least 2 weeks before sampling. Properly canned, they will last for 1-2 years on the shelf before opening. Once opened, store in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks.