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May 24, 2009 10:48 AM

Cherries in Liquor

I've never done this, but would like to try. Can you tell me what liquor you used and if you also added sugar. Also, how long do they keep in the refrigerator and how did you use them? Thank you!

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  1. Whenever sour cherries come into season I pit them and cover them with maraschino liqueur. No sugar necessary. After a couple of weeks in the fridge, they're good to go. I use them mostly as a garnish for Manhattans, but I've chopped them up and put them on ice cream, too. They keep as long as they last, which at my place isn't usually very long. I've tried macerating cherries in bourbon, but didn't like them nearly as well. I don't quite like bing cherries as much as the sour ones, but I make do when the sour aren't available.

    6 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Thank you. I don't know that I've ever seen sour cherries in the grocery store. Is that where you buy them? Right now, I'm getting really terrific bing cherries and was hoping to do something with them so that we could have them after the season is over.

      1. re: DaisyM

        Sour cherries have quite a short season, only about 3 weeks beginning toward the end of June. Here in Manhattan I can find them almost anywhere, from the supermarket to the farmers market. I prefer the sour cherries because they're smaller and duh! not so sweet. But if you're going to use them in desserts rather than cocktails, bings would be fine. I think bings are particularly good with brandy as nemo noted. For about 8 ounces of cherries you'd probably want about a cup of brandy and 6 tablespoons of sugar. I sometimes add a small amount of water, too. Just a couple of tablespoons.

        1. re: JoanN

          Thank more stupid question. Can I leave the pit in and do I just cut the stem a little bit, but leave it intact?

          1. re: DaisyM

            Absolutely! I prefer to pit them because by the time my guests have finished one or two of my Manhattans I can't count on their not breaking a tooth on the pits. Nemo may be right about the fruit getting a bit mushy if the stem is removed, but it's never been so bad that I've noticed it. And I do think the sour cherries get less mushy than the bings. As I say though, it's never been a problem for me.

          2. re: JoanN

            Yes, fresh sour cherries are hard to come by. The season is short and I've been told they are more perishable, so they don't travel well. Explaining why they are hard to come by at grocery stores around here. A lot of them are grown in MIchigan and northern Wisconsin, and most of the crop is frozen or canned as I understand it. Just recently, I've been seeing sour cherries for a brief time at our coop or farmers markets (here in Minnesota.)

            They are so fantastic for baking though. And I associate them with my grandmother's kuchen. Joan -- when you put them in the marschino liqueur, do you still taste the tartness?

            1. re: karykat

              You very definitely still taste the tartness. That why I love them so much. Especially in a Manhattan which tends to be a bit sweet anyway.

      2. Daisy: I haven't made these in a number of years, so I don't have a recipe for you. I used brandy. Yes, there was sugar. I hot watered bathed pints and gave them as Christmas gifts one year. They were shelf stable that way and didn't take up room in the fridge. With all that alcohol, they should last a couple months in the fridge even without processing.

        I've only every used them as a topping for ice cream, or served in a small dessert bowl with a spoon. I left the pits in and about 1/2" stem. It's perfectly fine to eat the cherry and use the spoon then to transfer pit from lips to dish.

        1. How timely! I was just watching the "Crock of Flavor" episode of Jacques Pepin's PBS series "New Fast Food My Way" on YouTube. Here's a link to the site, although you may have to scroll over to find the particular show. His 15-second tip at the beginning of the show is about how his father made cherries in liquor. He uses light Karo syrup but mentions you can use sugar. And he uses vodka. He snips the stems but leaves them on saying if you remove the stem, the fruit will get mushy. You may not have a problem with that. Just thought I'd pass the info along.

          4 Replies
          1. re: nemo

            You rule, Nemo! I'm seriously excited about doing this. Thanks everyone for taking the time to help me..

            1. re: DaisyM

              Another question re sugar. I tried this with Grand Marnier and sugar and it was terrific. Howver, the sugar does not dissolve. Should I be making a simple syrup first and letting it cool before adding? Thank you!

              1. re: DaisyM

                Okay, I dug my recipe out! It calls for 2 cups sugar to 1/4 cup water, but my note to self says use more water, like 1/2 cup. Over low heat dissolve sugar. That's not a simple syrup certainly. I don't know if it would be called heavy syrup or what. if you don't have a problem with corn syrup, you might want to try Pepin's way and sweeten to taste.

                While looking, I found another good one for the fall. Same idea. Pears in white rum. I've done pear slices and whole, peeled seckel pears.

                1. re: nemo

                  That makes sense to heat it. I don't know why but I'd rather use the sugar then corn syrup. Thank you very much. I'll buy some more cherries tomorrow and make it. Thanks again!