August 21, 2009

Cherry Liqueur

Cherry LiqueurHere in the Pacific Northwest we have an abundance of cherries, particularly Rainier and Bing cherries. When I saw Rainier cherries for $1.49 per pound, I knew it was time to try making a liqueur.

Cherry Liqueur 1I started with two pounds of Rainier cherries, unpitted, and added 1½ cups of sugar and a fifth of grain alcohol. I let it sit outside in the sun for four weeks.

Cherry Liqueur 2After four weeks, I strained the liquor and discarded the Rainiers. Then I added two pounds of pitted Bing cherries, 1 cup sugar, one cinnamon stick about 3" long, and two vanilla pods. I let that mixture sit for two weeks in the sun.

Then I strained the liquor again and added two pounds pitted Bings, two cinnamon sticks, 8 whole cloves, and 750ml French brandy. After one more week, I gave it a taste.

I think it's done, but I'm letting half of the liqueur continue to steep. It certainly isn't the best liqueur I've ever tasted, but it was fun to make, and it will make an excellent flavoring for desserts. Maybe I'll just call it cherry extract.


  1. Do you think this would work with vodka instead of grain alcohol?

  2. Certainly. I've been describing what I made as "hooch" because it has a bit too much kick. Vodka or brandy would have been a better base, I think.

  3. Hehe I've just finished a bottle of home-made cherry liqueur I brought from Slovakia and it tasted sooo good! They did use vodka as a base, by the way. And it didn't smell like vodka at all in the end. I believe their method is to leave the cherries with sugar for 2 weeks first, then add the alcohol and then leave it for a week more, something like that.
    Yours must be very good as well with all that spice added!! And with two kinds of cherries!! Mmm! :)