There are two main varieties of cherries for making liqueurs. There are dark, sweet cherries and there are sour (or tart), red cherries. This is my recipe for tart cherry liqueur.
Tart cherries make a very fine liqueur. It is hard to find sour/tart cherries in most stores. The only ones I could find in a super market was the canned variety for making cherry pie filling. This variety is inadequate for making quality liqueur. I live in Southern California. I have found a source for sour cherries in Glendale, California – the Central Grand Market. For this recipe, I bought frozen sour cherries. When thawed, they became very juicy … perfect for making liqueur.
There is a growing season when you can obtain fresh tart cherries. I even heard that you can pay and pick them yourself. I believe this can be done at an orchard in Palmdale, California. I will post more specific information here if I obtain it.
Here is my recipe for Tart Cherry Liqueur:
Tart Cherry Liqueur
Step One Ingredients:
- 1 lb fresh or frozen sour cherries
- 3 cups 80-proof vodka
Step One Directions:
- If using fresh cherries, pit the cherries with a cherry pitter. If using frozen cherries, thaw them first.
- Put cherries in a 2 Qt. Mason jar.
- Add vodka then shake thoroughly.
- Macerate at room temperature for 4 weeks.
Step Two Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
Step Two Directions:
- Add the sugar then shake thoroughly to dissolve sugar.
- Continue to macerate for another 4 weeks.
Step Three Directions:
- Strain through a stainless steel strainer to separate cherries from vodka and juice.
- Squeeze the remaining juice from the separated cherries using cheese cloth.
- Age for 2 to 3 months
- Use only very ripe, juicy cherries. If cherries are not ripe enough, then let them stand until as ripe and juicy as they can get.
Making The Liqueur
First add the cherries and Vodka to the Mason jar:
Wait 4 weeks, then add the sugar, then shake thoroughly to dissolve the sugar.
Wait for another 4 weeks while the liqueur macerates. In the next post, I’ll go over the filtering and straining.