Cherry brandy has always been one of my favourite tipples. I remember it being in the drinks cabinet when I was young and enjoying the sweet smell of it in my mum’s glass. It’s probably very 1970’s to admit to such a thing.
I have made damson gin or vodka lots of times thanks to our tree but I didn’t think I would get the chance to make my own cherry brandy. But the delivery of a crate of cherries from our friend made it a very tempting possibility.
It’s very easy, but you do need a large jar with a well-fitting lid, so that you don’t have a disaster when it comes to the shaking of the jar bit.
One of my favourite uses of cherry brandy now is to add a good slug to our regular cup of hot chocolate in the evening. Now there’s a sign of our age and present mentality.
I used a litre of brandy because I had so many cherries to get through, but you can half the quantities for a 50cl bottle. I used light coloured cherries so if you use dark cherries the colour of the resulting brandy will be deeper.
1 kg cherries
1 litre brandy (I used the cheapest bottle on the shelf)
Find a jar that has a tight-fitting lid that is large enough to take the cherries and the liquid.
Prick the cherries several times and place into the jar. If you prick them over the jar you capture most of the juice, although it is a very good idea to wear old clothes and an apron. My formerly white ceiling bears testament to how far cherry juice can travel. Add the sugar and the brandy. Fit the lid, I then sellotape it to make extra sure of a tight fit. Give the jar a good shake. Place the jar somewhere where you will see it daily to remind you to shake every day for the next week. After that shake once a week for the next two months, tasting it occasionally to see if it is cherry enough for you. Once it is, strain back into sterile bottles. You can now drink it or if you can bear it leave it for 12 months to mature. I plan to use the cherries in a chocolate dessert. It would be a shame to waste them.