Homemade cherry liqueur infuses quickly and has a variety of uses. I use it to flavor cakes and pastries, but it's also great for cocktails. It makes a wonderful holiday gift for the amateur mixologist in your life, or give it as a hostess gift.
4cupsfrozen dark pitted cherriesthawed, 32 oz. bag
Divide the bottle of vodka evenly between the two large canning jars (slightly more than 2 cups per jar). Add two cups of cherries to each jar. Add 1 cup of sugar to each jar. Screw the lids on tightly and give them a good shake. Keep the jars in a cupboard or other dark place for at least 1 month. During this time, shake the jars at least twice a week, or whenever you think about it. The sugar will fully dissolve. The vodka will be flavored at 1 month, but longer will result in deeper flavor and color.
When the liqueur is steeped, strain a jar of liqueur into a large glass measure with a pour spout. Decant the liqueur into two sterilized 8.5 oz. bottles with tight fitting lids. Repeat the process with the second jar.
Pack all of the cherries into one of the quart jars and top off with rum, bourbon, or brandy. Keep for cocktail cherries. You can also divide these into small jars for gifts (perfect for the old-fashioned cocktail fan in your life!).
Store bottles of liqueur and cherries in a cool dry place, such as a cabinet or pantry.
Use your favorite fruit in place of the cherries in this recipe. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and peaches are all good choices to infuse.
Frozen fruit, thawed, is easy to use in this recipe and yields excellent results, but you can also use fresh fruit. Frozen fruit is usually sold in 16 oz. bags. Pick up two bags for this, or one 32 oz. bag.
Infuse for at least one month for best flavor. Some people steep this only for a week, but when I tested this recipe over time it was flavorful at 1 month, and even better at 2 months.
Adjust the sugar content to your taste. I always use the full amount because it takes the edge off the tartness of the cherries. Also because it lends itself well to sweet applications, such as flavoring cakes and pastries.
Cherry liqueur will keep indefinitely. Store it in a cool dry place, like you would any spirit.
Use the liqueur to make simple syrups for cakes, or brush it directly on for tart cherry flavor. Use it in most any recipe that calls for kirshwasser. Mix it into cocktails. Give it as a fine hostess gift.
What to expect:This recipe yields a sweet, slightly tart liqueur. Its smoothness depends on the quality of vodka you use. I use and recommend Smirnoff.
Keyword frozen dark cherries, granulated sugar, vodka