While the cherries are still available by the case at the Farmer’s Market or in your own backyard, make a few bottles of cherry liqueur for yourself or as a gift. Cherry liqueur is sensational in trifle or over ice cream. And it’s easy to make at home.
What you’ll need:
4 cups of pitted Bing cherries or other sweet cherries
Pits from your cherry pitting
1 cup of organic sugar, plus 1 cup of water
3 vanilla beans, split (optional)
3 cups of vodka or bourbon
Makes 1 quart
Making the cherry syrup
Pit the cherries and reserve the pits and the juice from the pitting operation. Put the pits and juice in a sauce pan. Add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar to the sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for 1 hour. Allow to cool. Strain the pits, reserving the juice.
Assemble the liqueur
In a wide mouth mason jar, add the 4 cups of pitted cherries and the split vanilla beans. Using a wooden spurtle, press down the cherries in the jar to release some of the juice. Pour 1 cup of cherry syrup over the fruit in the jar. Fill the jar with the alcohol, leaving a 1 inch head space. Cap tightly and allow to macerate for 4 weeks. The cherries will ferment in the jar, and the contents will expand so put it on a paper towel to catch any drips. Shake the jar whenever you think of it during the waiting time.
After a month, taste the cherry liqueur to see if it’s rich enough. Leave it longer if you want more cherry flavour, up to 8 weeks.
Bottle the liqueur
When it’s ready, strain the liqueur, reserving the cherries. Bottle the liqueur in a fancy bottle. Cork tightly. Dip the cork in wax for a fancy giftable finish.
What to do with left over liqueur-infused cherries
The left over cherries can be used for amazing, adult only, cherry fool.
A fool is a dessert of smashed fruit and whipped cream, layered in a parfait glass – I love to use decorative jam jars. They are so pretty.
Did you have fun making cherry liqueur? Try making coffee liqueur, too.