[Photograph: Marcia Simmons]
Fresh, sweet summer cherries transform into something deeper in this simple cherry liqueur.
Notes: Bing cherries are sweet and easy to find. However, you could use tart cherries for a less sweet result, or mix a variety of cherries together. If using frozen, let them defrost before use. To add a little bitterness and a slight almond flavor, you could leave the pits in some or all of the cherries. Cinnamon is optional; you could skip or substitute another spice such as allspice, cardamom, or mace. If you prefer a stronger brandy flavor, substitute more brandy for the vodka. Other spirits such as bourbon and rum could also work well.
Read more: DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Cherry Liqueur
- Yield:Makes about 2 1/2 cups
- Total time:up to 2 weeks
- 6 cups Bing cherries, pitted
- 1 cup brandy
- 1/2 cup vodka
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken (optional)
Put the pitted cherries at the bottom of a sealable glass jar and muddle them with a wooden spoon or muddler to release some juice. Drain the juice into a separate container and set aside. Then add the brandy, vodka, and cinnamon stick to the muddled cherries. Seal and shake the jar. Let steep for one week at room temperature away from direct sun, shaking every few days.
Combine the reserved cherry juice, sugar, and water in a pan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool. Once the syrup is cooled, add it to the steeping jar, seal, and shake. Then let it steep for an additional 2 to 5 days. Strain through fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth into glass jar or bottle. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.