The cherries for this recipe come in a bag and do not have syrup, liquid, or sweetening. Anytime you add alcohol to a pan of ingredients, remove the pan from the heat first.
Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a medium skillet; whisk in orange juice. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in cherries, and, if desired, orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Stir in brandy, and return to heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Cool slightly. Garnish, if desired.