I wanted to preserve some of the lush fresh cherries that you can still get if you are lucky so Drunken Cherries seemed to fit the bill.
I had a large jar of brandied cherries a few years ago that I enjoyed immensely. I used them as accent in Trifles, over ice cream, to garnish drinks.
Based on that happy set of circumstances I decided to try Drunken Cherries. Drunken Cherries are traditionally preserved with Vodka rather than Brandy.
To pit or not to pit? I saw instructions that went both ways. I did not pit mine because I thought they might stay a bit firmer and I am totally prepared to warn people to watch for the pits. I think the cherries will end up more as garnishes rather than the main ingredient. The Syrup of course will be delicious over ice cream or crepes or in drinks.
Stem or no stem? If you decide not to pit them what about the stem? The stem would only be left on for effect but any instructions that had them left on also had them trimmed to ½". I assume to save space and reduce entanglement but I suspect stems could risk imparting a bitterness to the syrup in some case. I went -no stem.
This recipe makes 2 ½ pints. The amount of vodka you will need will depend on the size of your cherries and how much space there is around them. I was lucky.. the measurements below worked out perfectly. I had about a tablespoon of Vodka syrup left over that wouldn't fit in the jars.
Storage for Drunken Cherries
These are very simple to make but they are not water processed so you will need to keep them in the fridge or cool dark place like a cold cellar. It will take about 4 months to infuse the Vodka and the Vodka will turn a deep red .
So start now and you will have cherries and syrup ready for Christmas desserts and drinks!
- 3 cups fresh sweet cherries
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 ½ cups Vodka
- Rinse cherries well and remove stems. Pit cherries if desired.
- Heat vodka and sugar in microwave one minute at a time. Stir and heat until sugar is dissolved.
- Fill mason jars with cherries ensuring cherries will be covered with the syrup. Leave at least ¼" head space at top of the jar.
- Pour syrup over the cherries and close up jars. Ensure cherries are submerged in the syrup. Store in a cool, dark place (like a fridge or root cellar) for at least 4 months and up to a year if consistently cold.
- Serve over ice cream, as garnish for cakes, crepes or drinks.