Cherry brandy

Cherry brandy on day one
Cherry brandy on day one

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)
300g sugar


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.

Cherry brandy after 3 weeks
Cherry brandy after 3 weeks
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28 thoughts on “Cherry brandy”

  1. I made some of this particular hooch about 3 years ago… and I’m disappointed to report that though it’s good, I seem to have lost my taste for it, and I now more often use a slug of it to liven up puddings. Nothing wrong with that though, and I have a sneaky liking for the sozzled cherries too.

  2. What’s going on? I don’t like Cherry Brandy (reminds me of visits to ageing aunts as a kid), or pickled walnuts (even if you don’t have a recipe), or broad beans (Yuk!). But I’ll let you off – I know you have other readers apart from me!! 😉 xCathy

    1. Ha ha ha, sorry Cathy I will do my best to make something more to your taste soon. What’s the matter with you, though? You don’t like broad beans? Or cherry brandy? I am not sure if I will like the pickled walnuts yet, so I will let you off that one.

  3. This looks delectable. I’ll have to try this recipe next year when the cherries come on. Thank you for sharing. Have you tried peach brandy before?

  4. i am just about to try doing cherries in brandy. Last year i did black currants in brandy,it’s the best thing i have ever tasted !

  5. Excellent recipe & so easy! I have just bottled 2 litres of the cherry brandy & it’s already delicious with a good punch to it. I used the English dark cherries….this year has been a good one for them. Now enjoying the healthy eating of the brandied cherries left over ….better than eating sweets! 😀

  6. just found this site. Used Polstead Black cherries which are smaller but the taste is superb. Its a rare cherry which hales from Polstead in Suffolk. Used 1lb cherries, 1/2lb granulated sugar and a two inch piece of cinnamon. One Ltr of brandy goes in the 2ltr Le Parfait, then its a matter of shaking and hopefully leaving it for at least 6 months.

  7. FastMarlinDriver

    I have been making similar liqueurs for years. One very important thing to mention in regard to cherry liqueurs made like this is regarding the cherry stones; they are poisonous if eaten in any quantity because they contain a compound called Amygdalin which when ingested is changes to Hydrogen Cyanide. Now then – if you make Cherry liqueur with the stones still in the cherries, you have to remove the fruit within 6 weeks because the alcohol brings out the Amygdalin into the liquid rendering it definitely questionable for your health.
    I made Cherry liqueur like this a couple of years ago and ignorantly, left the fruit in for a few months. The result is a cherry liqueur which although lovely, does have an aftertaste of ‘almonds’ which is a sure indicator of the cyanide being present. Once you taste this – when you try to smell it – the almondy scent is definitely present. So it as a waste of vodka, cherries and time… This year, I spent a few hours de-stoning the cherries before putting then in my jar with the vodka. I’m kind of curious about how it’s going to turn out.
    The best drink I have made like this was Blackberry liqueur; utterly divine and a lovely colour; but here again the fruit have to be removed before 6 weeks because they have a ‘stem’ within them – unlike Raspberries which don’t by comparison. If the Blackberries are left in the alcohol for more than 6 weeks, the result is a ‘woody tasting’ drink which borders on being undrinkable.

  8. now i’m really confused how can i leave the brandy to develop for two months if the amygidalin is released after six weeks. removing cherry stones is a pain i did so for my first batch of cherry gin but is it really necessary?

  9. Just finished bottling my cherry brandy, and made jam with the leftover fruit, it is lovely with a hint of brandy, non alcoholic as the spirit gets boiled away,
    Geoff Unwin.

  10. Hi. I bottled cherries in brandy 3 weeks ago but the jars don’t seem to have sealed and two small ones fell over and leaked And the fumes have damaged the Kilmer metal fittings on the bigger jars. Do you think they’ll be ok? Should I throw away or drain and use the fruit for jam instead? Thanks

    1. Hi Angela, I am sorry to hear this. I am afraid I don’t have enough knowledge on this one to confidently help you. If it was me, I would decant them into a plastic container, seal with tape well and carry on with the process. Alcohol is pretty resilient so I doubt you will have contamination but please do what you think is best. Trust your instincts on this one. Will you be happy to drink it at the end? If so, carry on. If not, discard and start again if you can.

    1. Hi Mary, I’m sorry I don’t really know whether you can or not. I am guessing that they would flavour the brandy and you would have some delicious cherries at the end of it all. It’s worth a try if you don’t mind experimenting. The syrup part might substitute for the sugar so reduce the amount of sugar you add.

  11. I preserve the cherries in syrup. Lovely treat. Had some for two years and still ok. You would have to eat thousands of them for the cyanide to have any effect.

  12. Angela Hannaford

    1:Black Forest Gateau
    2:Boozy trifle
    3:Dip them in a chocolate fondue
    Serve as a compote with ice cream/frozen yoghurt
    4:Make a sundae with crushed meringues, the cherries, ice cream, a little single/pouring cream, a drizzle of the cherry brandy & even decorate with a few chopped nuts/chocolate shavings
    5: Simply enjoy them as grazing/snacking/nibbles instead of crisps etc
    6:Boozy cherry jam/conserve

    Lots of possibilities-enjoy being creative 😊

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