Sunday, May 31, 2009

"Homemade" Maraschino Cherries

I read about this a lot of times before trying it, then we were at Flora in Oakland - and one of our drinks came with an infused cherry - and we were sold. There are a lot of recipes out there, many of which involve cooking. This one couldn't be simpler.

  • Get ripe cherries, or almost ripe cherries
  • Clean a glass jar with lid - I use mason jars.
  • Wash, de-stem and pit the cherries - eat any that are bruised
  • Fill the jar with pitted Cherries - discard the pits.
  • Top off with maraschino liqueur - we are big Luxardo fans
  • Wait 2 to 3 days (this is the hard part)
  • Take a clean coffee cone* and paper filter, put it over another clean jar
  • slowly pour the liqueur and cherries into the funnel
  • Let the majority of liqueur drip off the cherries
  • Eat the cherries - they'll keep for about 7~10 days in the refrigerator.
  • When the liqueur has finished dripping through the filter paper, put a lid on it and keep it for the next batch
*Any coffee cone you've ever used for coffee will add a coffee taste, so buy one - a big one - to just use for kitchen alchemy and don't store it with your other coffee supplies. Once you've succeed at making one thing like this, you are doomed to the slippery slope of infusions and concoctions - rosemary infused vodka for your Christmas Cosmo.

Coffee filters (filter paper) is incredibly fine, so it always takes forever - go make a cocktail while you wait.

If you don't wait long enough, the cherries won't taste much like booze
If you wait too long, the cherries will turn brown and mushy, they'll still taste good but they will look repulsive and the texture goes quickly too. Brown or washed out cherries are really a hard sell with your guests.

We first did this last year. We tried a couple of different kinds of liquor and liked the maraschino liqueur the best. I'd like to try Kirschwasser or another brand of maraschino liqueur. We tried sour cherries, but they didn't taste very good.

If you don't strain the liquid every time, you'll wind up with bits of cherries decomposing at the bottom. Each time you use the liquid it gets slightly more dilute from the water in the cherries, and eventually when the alcohol level is low enough it will start to ferment. So far I've used this liquor about 5 times.

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