Over the past year I have become very interested in cocktails of all sorts. I am constantly researching new ways to improve my drinks, and one of the most obvious ways is to improve what I put into the cocktails. Getting rid of the artificially neon red cherries that are used in classics like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan and replacing them with home made brandied cherries would make a great addition to these drinks. I have been researching how to make my own brandied cherries and when a surprise winter crop showed up for a reasonable price I decided to jump on the chance to start exploring a new food adventure.
This is a great way to preserve cherries and add a nice boozy depth and spice to these cherries, which can be used in cocktails or as a topper on ice cream.
1 lb. sweet cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
1 cinnamon stick
Pinch of All spice
1/8th tsp orange zest
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup brandy
Tools: cherry pitter, saucepan, ladle, jars with lids
Wash and pit the cherries. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except the cherries and brandy and bring to a rolling boil. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to medium. Add the cherries and simmer for 5–7 minutes. Remove from heat, add the brandy and let cool. Transfer the cherries into clean jars and refrigerate, uncovered until cherries are cool to touch. Cover tightly and refrigerate.
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