Life’s a bowl of cherries…so I’m making liqueur.
One of the downsides of buying all this lovely fresh fruit is when we forget about it until it’s just on the side of not being any good any more. (Unfortunately, we have this weird habit where, if it’s not really good to eat but not really gross yet, we tend to wait a few days until it is really gross, and then throw it out. Dopey. Wasteful. Eew.)
Anyway, the above was on the verge of happening with a lovely container of tart cherries I got at the market last week. I honestly didn’t so much care for them, I like the sweet ones better, but once these got very ripe they were actually pretty good. But there were still some left, and they weren’t going to last…
So, when in doubt, pickle it in alcohol! This is an untested recipe and will remain unverified for at least 2 weeks as a sample run and more like 2 months for a real assessment, but here goes:
Tart Cherry Liqueur
- pit by squooshing a bunch of ripe tart cherries. (Or you can be neat and pit them nicely and then chop them up. Or you can be like me and just leave the pits in the jar with the fruit.)
- Don’t wear a white shirt while doing this.
- Put them into a clean dry jar; ideally, the fruit should fill it about 2/3-3/4 of the way with juicy, squished up fruit.
- Pour clear vodka (80-100 proof) or a half and half mixture of grain alcohol and distilled water (90-ish proof) over cherries to fill the jar. (Jar should be full.)
- Label your jar and let it sit, turning and shaking it every few days, for 2-4 weeks.
- Drain cherries through cheesecloth, muslin, or a coffee filter, reserving (doh) liquid in a Pyrex or other measuring cup Try to squeeze every bit of juice out. (If you dare, nibble on the pickled fruit. But not before you have to drive anywhere.)
- Make a simple sugar syrup: heat equal amounts of sugar and water in a saucepan until sugar is completely dissolved; let cool.
- Mix equal amounts sugar syrup and cherry-infused alcohol. Mix well.
- Bottle and label; store in cool dry place for at least 2 months to mellow
- After mellowing time is completed, if desired, rebottle into smaller or nicer bottles; if there is sediment, if you like, let it stay on the bottom of the original. (We usually keep our sediment, actually.)
- Enjoy responsibly. Remember that at this point you have a beverage that is somewhere between 20% and 25% alcohol, or 40-50 proof.
I’ll update this one as the stuff keeps working!