About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Cherry Vodka
It's fast coming up to Christmas and that time of the year, in the southern hemisphere, when sour cherries are in their short, glorious season. Every year we buy a number of kilos, never less than ten, to make all manner of things, jams, preserved whole in jars for cakes and of course our famous cherry vodka.

Now sour cherries are not the easiest thing to buy as they don't seem to find their way into the shops. We get ours straight from an orchard that sells direct to the public and I do know that some pick your own orchards also grow sour cherries, so you need to look around to secure your supply, the Mornington Peninsula has a few cherry farms that sell direct.

The other thing that may be a little hard to find is the pure spirit which is 95% alcohol. We are lucky here in Melbourne as a major liquor retailer, Dan Murphy, stocks it and Acland Cellars in St Kilda also have it. It's not cheap about $55 for 500 ml, but what you need to remember is the strength, a little of this stuff goes a very long way.

The rest of the ingredients are easy, sugar and vodka and that's it, there is nothing else apart from a large preserving jar to macerate & marinate the cherries in. Any large jar which can hold a kilo of sour cherries with a bit of extra space would do, but you need to make sure it seals well, not to stop any nasties getting in, rather to stop any precious juices getting out when you shake the jar or jars later on. Preserving jars are good for this job as they come with effective rubber seals.

Cherry Vodka

1 kg (2.2 lb) fresh sour (pie) cherries
1 500 ml (17 fl oz) bottle pure spirit (95% alcohol)*
3/4 kg (26 oz) sugar
350 ml (12 fl oz) vodka (40% alcohol)

Pull all the stems from the sour cherries and place in a preserving jar. Pour on the pure spirit, reserve the bottle, and seal the lid of the jar. Give a shake to make sure all the cherries have some alcohol on them, don't worry that all the cherries might not be under the spirit. Write the date on the jar and leave in a cool, dark spot for four to six weeks, shaking the jar once a week. This process gets colour into the spirit and also extracts flavour from the cherry pits (kernels), don't leave longer than six weeks as this cherry pit flavour becomes too strong.

When the cherries have finished macerating in the spirit, pour the spirit back into the bottle and set aside. Add the sugar to the sour cherries, reseal the jar and give a good shake. Every day you need to vigourously shake the jar to redistribute the sugar and help it dissolve. What the sugar is doing is drawing all the juice out of the sour cherries and as more juice is drawn out, more sugar dissolves. You will need to shake the jar every day for about a month until there is absolutely no undissolved sugar left and the sour cherries are completely shriveled up.

Pour this sweet juice into a large bowl or pot, add the reserved pure spirit and the vodka then stir well to mix thoroughly. We like to filter the cherry vodka at this stage by placing some cotton wool in a funnel and slowly pouring the cherry vodka through, though it isn't strictly necessary as it is with other types of fruit. Pour this cherry vodka into bottles and leave for at least a week for the flavours to mingle, it's better after a month. It also improves with keeping....that is if you can keep your hands off it.

*You might be only able to find 85% pure spirit, you can still make it with this, if you use 95% pure spirit, the finished product will be around 30% alcohol. This post is partly recycled from last year.
  posted at 12:15 pm

At 3:00 pm, Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Sounds good again.
I thought you go for the pumpkin dip!

At 7:22 am, Blogger neil said...

Hi tanna, I loved the sound of that pumkin dip, but I still can't get my head around the cake, anyway, there's time before squash season here.

At 12:26 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget my Cherry Vodka!!!
- P


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