Little Tipples: Brandied Cherries

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This is the third installment of Katt Frank and Sean St. John’s Little Tipples series. Today we’re moving away from straight liquor to an innocent little fruit treat – laced with brandy, naturally. Visit the first two, Sloe Gin and Blackberry Bourbon, for more! -Amy

Brandied cherries are something to waken the taste buds. The first time I ate one it was unlike anything I’d ever tasted – sweet, sharp, strong, juicy and Christmas-sy. I received a jar a few years ago as a present and didn’t really know what to expect. But I came to savour them and I used to eat one every now and again when I needed a pick me up.

These boozy berries are a decadent treat best eaten as an after dinner ‘digestif’. The simplest version of this recipe is cherries, brandy and sugar in a kilner jar and seal. However, I feel that a little work benefits the flavour and enjoyment immensely. I like the cherries to be soft with juices oozing out that are not too pungent.

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Brandied Cherries

Ingredients:

  • 1lb cherries
  • 7oz caster sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup French brandy

Equipment:

  • jars – enough for about 3 cups liquid

Directions:

  1. With the cherries, try to find the ripest ones you can. Remove the stalks and pit the cherries with your knife skills or invest in a cherry pitter. Set the cherries aside.
  2. Next, add the caster sugar to a saucepan with the water. Add 2 tsp. lemon juice, a pinch of ground nutmeg, a pinch of ground cinnamon and a liberal drizzle of vanilla extract. A split vanilla pod will do the trick too.
  3. Bring the liquid to the boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Stir to ensure the sugar doesn’t burn.
  4. Add the pitted cherries and add 1 cup of French Brandy. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the liquid begins to thicken, then remove from the heat and the let the saucepan cool.
  5. Clean out any jars or containers you will be using to store the cherries. When the liquid is cool, ladle in the cherries to the jars. Make sure the cherries are submerged with the liquid.
  6. Then add a drizzle of brandy to each jar and seal. As long as the cherries are submerged, they should last for years, but I’ve never seen a jar last longer than two weeks once it’s been cracked open.

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Illustration by Katt Frank and photos by Sean St. John.

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