It’s raining but that gives me time for a catch-up post on making the cherry vodka back in June.
While the spring here might have left a lot to be desired, the sour cherries took it all in their stride and produced a good crop back in the early days of this summer. As I’d also had a good crop of the late dark cherries, which are far sweeter for eating, this year these cherries were just for Cherry Vodka and the rest left for the wild life.
Since I first started making cherry vodka back in 2008, the recipe I use has changed a little, basically because I have less time and do it from memory. It may be simple but it is also very tasty – safety note here, consume in moderation as alcohol is dangerous in excess!
So, all you need are the sour cherries, or griottes as they are called here, vodka, large plastic bottle, and some sugar – as I said it’s really simple but it takes a bit of time.
I use around 1 pint of cherries for a 75cl bottle of vodka. I also take the time to stone the cherries as having soaked them in vodka for 6 months, I have no intention of just throwing them away at the end of the process and stoning them now saves having to spit out the stones at a later date when you eat the vodka soaked cherries.
The griottes are quite small and I find it better to use the individual cherry stoner otherwise a very large proportion of the cherries are left with the stone in if I use the table-top one I show back in this post. I stone the cherries over a bowl and the cherries are then dropped into the plastic bottle.
I generally use 2 litre diet cola bottles I collect over the year and there is a reason for this. I’ve discovered by trial and error that if you store these bottles without rinsing them nothing grows in them during storage – makes you wonder about what is in the drink though! I give the bottles a quick rinse just before I need them and drain well.
Once all the cherries are done I then strain the liquid that has come out of the cherries along with the stones, from the stones and add that liquid to the bottle.
Next step is to add the vodka, but save the vodka bottle so you can refill it with the cherry vodka at the end of the year. You will need an extra bottle then as the vodka will also contain cherry juice and sugar.
Then I mark the bottle with the contents and year.
After that comes the long bit. Each day for a couple of weeks or so I invert the bottle once or twice and the colour of the cherries begins to colour the vodka. Then I put it aside usually until the end of October or the beginning of November.
That's when the sugar is required – I hadn’t forgotten about it! I think the original recipe said add 300g of sugar but I found that a bit too sweet for my taste so I add around 200g of sugar. The bottle needs to be gently shaken each day until the sugar has dissolved. You can then taste the vodka to see if you need to add any more sugar – hic.
Normally at this point of the year I would have to wait until I was adding the sugar to get photographs of the final stages but I forgot to do last year’s batch until just before I made this batch.
Once the sugar has dissolved, separate the cherries from the vodka; pour the vodka into the saved bottles and store the cherries in an airtight container.
The vodka cherries are a wonderful, if rather potent, adult hors d'oeuvre and a few of them with a drizzle of spiced cherry sauce on vanilla ice-cream make a lovely dessert too.