I’m lucky enough to have two very happy Montmorency Sour Cherry Trees in my backyard orchard. And these two trees produce about 30 quarts of cherries every year.
We don’t eat pies (hubby’s a diabetic). So, you ask, what can I possibly do with all those cherries?
I make low sugar Sour Cherry jam with them but I also make lots of ruby red, sweet-tart, cherry brandy which we give away for holiday gifts. I love making it because it’s so easy…and I don’t have to pit the cherries.
When the brandy is ready to be bottled, I also get a whole lot of brandied cherries that I can pit, freeze and use as cheesecake topping.
So, here’s my recipe. Happy bottling!
Homemade Cherry Brandy
8 c cherries with pits
1 1/3 c brandy
1 liter vodka (4 cups)
4 c water (you can use cherry juice if you have it)
2 c sugar
Put the cherries, brandy and vodka into stainless steel pot and boil. This step ensures that any native bacteria on the cherries are killed.
Cool the cherry mix and pour into a gallon, glass jar. Put the lid on and store for 5 days in a cool, dark place like a closet.
After 5 days:
Create simple syrup by combining sugar and water and bringing to a boil to make sure the sugar dissolves. Set aside to cool.
Once it’s cooled down, add some of the simple syrup to the cherry mix, stir and taste. If it’s too strong or sour, just add more simple syrup and taste again. NOTE: don’t operate heavy equipment after doing your taste test…
Once it’s sweet enough for you, put the lid back on and put the jars back in the closet for 4 weeks.
Before you can bottle, you need to strain out the cherries and any sediment in the bottom of the jar.
Use cheesecloth in a mesh strainer and strain the liquid into another gallon glass jar or container. NOTE: you will have to strain a couple of times to get clear liquid. Just rinse the cheesecloth off and lay it back in the strainer.
For the final strain, I use a Brita 42629 Slim Pitcher . The Brita is dirt cheap and gives me clear, ruby red brandy but you can use another system if you want.
Once the brandy is strained to your satisfaction, pour into bottles, cork and store upright. I save old scotch bottles with corks and scour stores like T. J. Maxx for bottles that have stoppers on them and bottle my brandy in these.
By the way, I use the same recipe to make blueberry and blackberry brandy!