Cherry, Baby!

Cherry Baby, I’m gonna make-a-you mi-yi-yine.

Now is the time. If you want to have a bottle of homemade cherry liqueur for the holidays, get out there and pick/buy your cherries now, because this recipe is the epitome of slow food - it takes six months.

A traditional Italian liqueur with a deep, dark mahogany color, its intense flavor bears absolutely no resemblance to cherry cough syrup.  It is not too sweet and has an alluring hint of bitterness from the inclusion of crushed pits in the process.

I wonder what color it would be if Queen Anne cherries were used? What if I used sour cherries? Would the addition of an herb or spice - thyme, rosemary, or cinnamon - be nice?

So many options to consider for this year's batch!

~ David

Liquore di Ciliegine

2 pounds 4 ounces sweet cherries
12 ounces granulated sugar
750ml Everclear (190 proof alcohol)

Wash and pit the cherries, discarding half the pits. Wrap the reserved pits in a clean cloth and break with a hammer. Combine the pieces of pits and cherries in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. The jar needs to be big enough to hold all the fruit, sugar, and liquid. Cover fruit and pits with sugar, seal with the lid, and set aside in a dark place to age for two weeks, shaking the mixture alternate days.

Add the alcohol and place mixture in the refrigerator to macerate for three months. At this time, you can start your holiday shopping.

Line a fine-mesh sieve with a sheet of clean muslin, and strain the liquid into a clean glass container. Cover, return to the refrigerator, and let it age for at least three months, while you  finish your holiday shopping.

Divide among small decorative glass bottles for serving or gifting; keep refrigerated.

Makes approximately 1 liter.

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