Brandied Cherries - If life is a bowl of cherries, I hope I have the opportunity to brandy some of mine. Every year around June or July, I can't help but make a jar or two of these preserved morsels. Although fresh cherries are hard to pass up, it's worth it a few months later when you have a rich taste of summer for your cocktails.
Once brandied, the cherries are good for 6 months in the refrigerator, but don't expect them to last that long. After all, there’s always a manhattan to make for someone or ice cream that needs a unique and boozy topping. Below recipe makes about 2 pint jars.
- About 1lb fresh cherries, washed, stems removed (you can also remove pits, but I find they have better texture/flavor with pits intact)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 vanilla bean pod
- 1 to 1-1/2 cups brandy
- Peppercorn or other spices (optional)
Heat water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean (scrapings and pod) until simmering. Add cherries and simmer 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, add 1 cup brandy and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Transfer to clean jars, top with remaining brandy to cover cherries (if needed), and place in refrigerator uncovered until completely cool. Once cool, top with jar lids. Cherries may be eaten after 24 hours and will keep about 4-6 months refrigerated.