when life gives you sour cherries… make whiskey

I was telling someone about the fate of my swiss chard and he shared that he was planting some fruit trees.  Got on the topic of sour cherries, they seem to be a rare find in Columbus, OH.  He said, we have tree in the back and it is ready… do you want any cherries?  Umm…. YES!  He even offered me a paper bag and a ladder!  So now I am in cherry heaven.

sour cherries

Tart cherries are so great for pie, breads, muffins, jam, sauces, ice cream, wine… and whiskey!  Cherry bounce is the first thing I make with these little babies.  After picking, these cherries need to be used right away or refrigerated.  I pick out the best 40 cherries, wash and de-stem them.  I have a wide mouth quart jar ready, cleaned and boiled.  Next, I prick each cherry with a toothpick about five times and put the cherries in the jar.  I dump ¾ cup of sugar over the cherries and pour rye whiskey on top.  I gently turn the jar over once or twice to mix everything but it’s not necessary.  The jar then goes in a cool, dark place for four months.  Every three weeks, I turn the jar.  I save the whiskey bottle to rebottle when it’s finished.  Although last year, I forgot to save the whiskey bottle so I bottled it into small wine bottles and that worked just fine.

Technically my recipe calls for: 6oz sugar (¾ cup), 750 ML rye whiskey, 40 cherries (1 cup).  The quart jar doesn’t quite fit this recipe.  I have about a half of cup of whiskey left and that’s ok!  I’ve seen this recipe with more sugar and more cherries, you can adjust to your liking.  Or, you can try it with vodka or brandy.

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