Italian style Cherry Liqueur

This is a fabulous drink you will want to make every year; it's akin to Sloe Gin, but stronger.

Because I know you will not want to wait for this process to complete (by then the cherry season will be over) I have started the process, taken pictures, but in order to enable you to catch the cherries at optimum price and ripeness I am publishing this without the final stage pictures.


Ingredients:
1kg ripe, dark cherries
350g granulated sugar
500ml Polish or other 95% proof spirit
50ml Grappa (or Vodka if you can't get Grappa)
500ml good red wine (if desired)

You will also need a large, sealable, glass container.

Method:

Cut and stone the cherries (Fig 1), as you do this, make sure you drain the juice from the board (Fig 2) back into the bowl your cherries are in, we don't want to waste any juice!!

Retain the stones in a bowl as part of the ingredients (Fig 3).

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3

 

Place the cherries in the glass container (Fig 4). Put the stones in a muslin cloth and gently hammer with a steak hammer (Fig 5) or other small hammer, you want to ensure half of the stones are cracked open. Tie the bag neck with string and also place in the glass jar (Fig 6) along with the juice you have saved in the bottom of your bowl.

Figure 4 Figure 5 Figure 6  Saved juice

 

Pour the granulated sugar over the cherries and bag of stones, cover with the lid and shake the contents to ensure the sugar is evenly distributed over all of the contents (Fig 7 & 8).

As the cherries macerate in the sugar they will release their juices, so much so that the fruit will be totally covered by the fluid within 3 or 4 hours.

Figure 7 Figure 8 3 or 4 hours later

 

Stand this liquor for 2 weeks shaking to ensure the contents are mixed once a day.

After two weeks add the spirit and Grappa (also wine if desired) shake to mix every day for a further two weeks (Fig 9). Smell the mixture regularly – for no reason other than to enjoy the smell.

After the two weeks, you will notice that the cherries are floating more in the liquid rather than sitting at the bottom of the jar (Fig 10). 

Figure 9 Figure 10

 

Place the container in a cool dark cupboard for 3 months, then pour through a sieve into a bowl or jug that has a lip or spout for pouring. Filter into a demi-john or other sealable glass container using a coffee filter or paper towel placed in a funnel. The alcohol soaked cherries can be used in cakes or ice cream, but discard the bag of stones.

Stand for a further two months, then gently wrack off the mixture into dark wine bottles, use 250ml bottles, this should give you about 5 bottles (if you have added the wine) to give to friends for Christmas, or just pour into two wine bottles for your own consumption; label and enjoy.

Filtering Draining For baking Result