Cherry Brandy

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Cherry Brandy

Serves: n/a
Approx cost: €18
Approx calories (per serving): n/a
Approx preparation and cooking time: ~5 months

I happened to come across a rather interesting post recently on the wonderfully helpful Sissi’s blog, “With a Glass“, about making Apricot Gin. I’m not a big drinker, but I do enjoy the occasional one, especially at Christmas time. Being not too much of a fan of Gin or Vodka I remembered that the company “De Kuyper” makes some rather delicious Cherry and Apricot Brandy and I figured that perhaps, just perhaps, these wouldn’t be too hard to emulate. Using Sissi’s invaluable advice I set to work this weekend on my very own batch of both Cherry, and Peach Brandy, with the plan of giving them to friends and family as wonderful little gifts come December time.

I’ve literally only just made it, so this post is going to have to be a work in progress. I will write the post now, because if you wanted to do the same sort of thing for Christmas it’s advisable to do it sooner rather than later… especially since such fruits are in season! Bear in mind though that I am a mere novice at this so please read around if in any doubt, as I do not yet know whether this will be a complete disaster or not (although early indications are that it will be awesome! I like the drink to be sweet – like a liqueuer, so you may need to adapt accordingly if you’re not so keen! Good luck! I’ll be updating this in about 3 months with the results of my experiment!

Ingredients

Cherry Brandy ingredients

  • 1 x 70cl bottle of Cognac
  • ~700g fresh Cherries
  • ~400g Sugar
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 Cardamom Pod

You’ll also need

  • A large Preserving Jar

Instructions

  1. Start off by washing the cherries well. Cut each one in half to expose the pit.Halving the cherries
  2. Transfer the cherries to a large Preserving Jar and add the sugar. Shake the jar and leave for around 4 hours.
    Mixing the cherries with the sugar
  3. After this time, remove the cardamom pods from their shell, and if you have one, crush the seeds and cloves in a pestle and mortar. If you change the spices, be careful – from all accounts I read you really only need very little to get a good flavour infusion.
    Crushing the spices
  4. Add to the sugar and cherries and pour in the Brandy. Seal the jar and shake. Leave out in the light, and stir periodically over the next few days so the sugar dissolves. After about 5 days, place the jar into a dark place for one month.
    Cherry Brandy
  5. After one month, remove about 90% of the cherry pits from the brandy. The easiest way to do this is to have another large Preserving Jar on hand. At this time, taste a spoonful or so of the brandy. If you find it very sweet add a little more brandy – maybe a quarter or a bottle or so, maybe more depending on your tastes. At this stage I had too much liquid for one Preserving Jar so I split it between two. Seal the jars again and place back into a dark place for about another 4 or 5 months. After this time, take out and you can start the bottling.
    Ready to bottle
  6. For the bottling, you’ll need a sieve, a muslin cloth and a load of small bottles (if you intend on gifting this), as well as a small funnel. Start by washing the bottles thoroughly and soaking the corks in a bowl of cold water. Place the bottles to drain while you move onto the next step. Start by pouring the contents of one of the preserving jars through a sieve, into a large bowl or pan to remove the large pieces of fruit. After this, strain the liquid through a muslin cloth into another pan to filter out any smaller pieces of spice or fruit fibres. You can now pour this strained liquid through the funnel into the clean bottles before pushing the corks in firmly (thought not too far!).
    Bottling the brandy
  7. Wash and drain some glass canning jars thoroughly and you can store the fruit, minus the pits, in these. These are excellent in desserts and when used for baking. For the bottles of brandy, as an extra finishing touch you can dip the tops in melted wax or tie a ribbon around the top should you so wish and then either gift away or keep for yourself! Enjoy :)
    Cherry and Peach brandy

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33 Comments

  1. Charles, I am really touched by your kind words. Thank you for all the generous compliments! It's such a pleasure to see you enjoying the home liqueur making. I am sure your brandy will be perfect. Even now it looks wonderful! I am looking forward to read your first tasting impressions! I cross my fingers :-)

    Reply
    • No problem Sissi – thanks for the invaluable advice and help you've been giving me so I'm able to avoid poisoning myself! :D

      I've updated the post to read "leave in a dark place for 1 month", and will update again when I remove the pits!

      Reply
      • It's all my pleasure! I am learning with your liqueur making too!

        Reply
  2. Charles, your cherry brandy looks gorgeous – I like that you are posting this ahead of time to allow for holiday planning. What a stunning gift this would make! While I've never tasted brandy (I'm a lightweight in the alcohol department), I find this idea inventive and fun. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Thanks Kelly. I don't drink much myself either, although I love the occasional small glass of something. Did you ever try Grand Marnier and Cointreau? SO good!

      Reply
      • I enjoy cointreau in my margaritas – does that count? :) p.s. love the design changes you've made to your site. p.p.s. made your mud pie again (!) for Canada Day. 310 F. seems to work best for about 45 mnts in my oven – accompanied it with raspberries this time – yum!

        Reply
        • I think I'm missing out – I've never once had a margarita. They always look so refreshing when they make them in movies!

          re: the site – thanks a lot! I'm no design pro, but I thought it might be nice to have a different logo for each season. This one is "supposed" to be Summer (look at all the suns, yay!) but to be honest it's … not really. Autumn will be easy to do at least!

          It's wonderful you made the pie again! I hope it was as delicious as last time! It's great you've found a time that works for you in the oven too. Ovens can vary a great deal – different air currents can have a huge impact on the final product. My oven is still busted at the moment but should be replaced soon. I'm greatly looking forward to experimenting with the new one!

  3. This looks gorgeous! What a wonderful idea for a gift! I imagine it would be great served at holiday parties too. Can't wait to see how this turns out. :)

    P.S. Chuckled to myself again last night when a moth buzzed my head in the kitchen and I screamed. LOL. I need to remember to start my day with a good laugh – sets the tone for a good day. :)

    Reply
    • Cheers Kristy – I've been a bit impatient and tried a teaspoonful of each the past couple of days. The peach is delicious so far… I think it's going to be really good!

      Here's three annoying things about moths for you to consider which have long troubled me:

      1) How… the heck… can something be SO damn big, and hairy, and yet *still* be classified as an insect?
      2) They mess you stuff up, even in death. You swat them and they shower everything in a fine spray of wing-dust (not that I condone moth squishing, but sometimes they're just too gross)
      3) If you're kind enough to capture them, open the door and try to fling them outside… what do they do? Fly right back in. They will zoom through the smallest crack of the most quickly closing door and establish a perch on the ceiling again… grr!

      Reply
      • LOL. That is a good question – how are they insects and not their own class of ick?! My favorite is when people try to say they're just like butterflies. No they are not. And I'm cracking up again about #2 and #3 because they are SO true. Thank you. Off to another good day now. LOL.

        Reply
        • Thanks a lot Kristy – have a great day, and try not to get attacked by errant moths!

  4. I made cranberry vodka for holiday gifts last year and your post just reminded me I better get thinking of this year's treat!! These cherries look absolutely gorgeous! The red color is stunning!

    Reply
    • Thanks Linda – it was all I could do to stop myself from cramming big handfuls of them in my mouth. I just love cherries… too bad they're only in season for a couple of months or so each year!

      Reply
  5. Looks great and I only recently found With A Glass am very much enjoying it!

    Reply
    • Thanks Greg – be sure to check back in a month or so to see some updates in my boozy adventures! With A Glass is great – Sissi has some wonderful things there. I've already picked up some great tips and recipes and have also discovered the incredible joy of coffee with freshly ground cardamom inside – drooool!

      Reply
  6. I'm not a drinker at all but this reminds me of stories I was told of my great grandfather making wine. I can't wait to share your recipe with my family

    Reply
    • Thanks Kay. I made a few wines myself when I was quite young. Around the age of 14 or 15 I had quite the little brewery at home. I made carrot wine and parsnip wine one year… that was… ahem, interesting. Not awesome, but a little bit like sherry. My best was a peach one I made – if I ever make wine from scratch again I'll definitely be sticking to fruits!

      Reply
  7. Can't wait to hear how it turns out in a few months–I'm sure it's going to be delicious! Works in progress like this are always more fun, I love experimenting. This will be a perfect gift come Christmas time. I know I wouldn't mind getting a bottle or two. ;)

    Reply
    • Cheers Caroline – I'm really looking forward to trying it to. Should be delicious. If it's successful I'm going to try branching out into other flavours and alcohols next time!

      Reply
      • That's a great idea! So, random question, I finally got a FB fan page up and running, and I saw that you have the sidebar/plugin on your blog for fb–how did you add it? I'm not very tech savvy! I was able to figure everything out on fb, but not sure how to transfer so the icon shows on my blog. I run my site through wordpress, so it might be a bit different, but any suggestions would help. Thanks Charles!

        Reply
        • Hi Caroline – This link on Facebook explains how to add a "Likebox" to your site. You can customise it a bit on the page and Facebook will give you the code you need to add. Basically, just paste that code anywhere you want the likebox to appear. In my case I added a text widget (which supports HTML) in my sidebar. I'm not sure how much customisation you have over widgets and so forth in WordPress.com but it should be possible :)

        • Thanks so much! I was able to get that far on fb, but it gives you plugin codes for "iframe" and "xfbml", and when I insert both into a text widget (supports html) on my sidebar, it just appears as the code on my page–no "likebox." Hmmm I will get down to the bottom of this. Thanks for your help! :)

        • Weird – do you have an option saying "insert paragraphs automatically", and if so is it checked? If it's checked it may be parsing the HTML as text. Alternatively, if you're able to install plugins (not sure if it's allowed under WordPress.com, you can undoubtedly find one to generate a LikeBox for you, just by entering your FB page ID. It could also be that maybe it won't let you create an iframe – as I'm running my own installation of WP security is probably more or less left to the site admin, whereas on WordPress.com they may need to lock it down a lot more.

          You should only need the iframe code, so, for me I have:

          <xmp><iframe src="http://www.facebook.com/blahblah></iframe></xmp&gt;

  8. Hello, thanks for the visit. I'm glad you did. I love this place! And this post might just convert me into an alcoholic :D
    I'm only a wine and cocktail person but the thought of cherries, apricots (Sissi's) and other fruits ….. aahhh… maybe a black forest cake? Hmmm … can you hear the gears in my head going?

    Reply
    • Oh yeah – boozy black forest cake – I like your way of thinking Ping. I actually have been meaning to make one for a while, and I only recently got my hands on some cream suitable for whipping by hand (seems hard to find in France!). Hope you're having a good day :)

      Reply
  9. My father used to make moonshine and I've run across a couple of full bottles. Other than making molotov cocktails with the stuff, do you think I could try something like this with it?

    Reply
    • Moonshine?!!! Wow, awesome. Well, if it's safe to drink then I guess in theory you could try and turn it into a delicious fruit liqueur. I wouldn't like to say for sure though. Sissi at WithAGlass.com is probably a better resource – she has lots of books on the matter!

      Reply
      • It's definitely safe to drink based on the fact that he has been making it for quite a while and hadn't gone blind. :) It's just raw alcohol without a lot of flavour.

        Reply
        • Oh, I'm sure – it just has a bit of a reputation, you know, but I'm sure when it's made by someone with some experience it's probably pretty awesome. Wouldn't mind giving some a try one day. Come to think about it it's probably the ideal candidate for mixing up with some cherries and sugar!

  10. So how did it turn out? It sounds wonderful … the cherry with the cardamom. I love those two flavors and can just imagine they would be fantastic in a brandy.

    Reply
    • Hi Ann – it was amazing! Next time I will pay closer attention to filtering it. I thought I filtered it really well, but after sitting in the bottles for a few days I noticed that there is still a little fruit sediment at the bottom – not much, and I think the taste is unchanged, but it's still nice to have a thorough job done I think, so next time I will filter them twice or more!

      The taste was… well, it was like the cherry brandy I used to buy so I'm very pleased with that result. I was amazed at how much difference the spices made. I added so little clove/cardamom, but it really came through well in the final product – luckily I had some restraint as otherwise it would have been too strong… as it was, it was perfect :)

      Reply
  11. Hi Charles!

    Your brandy looks beautiful.

    Where did you find those amazing glass bottles? I absolutely love the shape.

    BaRb

    Reply
    • Thanks Barb! I guess you mean the little pyramid ones with the corks? I really liked them too… I couldn’t find any suitable bottles for a really long time and then finally I found them for sale on a website in France (where I used to live). I think I ended up with a box of about 20 bottles or something crazy… only needed about 8 in the end, and of course now I’ve moved so I’ve given the remaining ones away but they were very cute indeed.

      If you were interested I could probably try to find the website which sold them, but I guess you’re living outside France maybe so it might not be much good.

      Reply

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