White cherries aren’t really white; they’re gorgeous pale yellow blushed with rose.

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Fortunately for me, the small fruit stall just outside the office where I currently work has had them on sale recently and I’ve purchased so many the stall holder probably assumes I’m a weird cherry addict. When I told him this bag were destined for cherry rum liqueur, he asked me to bring him a taste of the finished hooch!

I’ve been sharing images of these beauties online and friends have asked if they’re rainier cherries, a variety developed in Washington (and named for Mount Rainier) in 1952. All the stall holder could tell me is that they were grown in Spain, so I’m not sure whether they’re rainier cherries or not.

Regardless of variety, they’re utterly delicious and I felt inspired by twitter friend @ShochuLounge to preserve some in alcohol. Their tip about leaving the pips in to infuse almond flavour notes was an extra push as stoning cherries is a thankless task.

The strawberry vodka liqueur I made a few years ago turned out wonderfully well and since then I’ve made a few more random fruit liqueurs simply by combining my chosen fruit with lots of sugar and whatever clear spirit I have to hand – I tend to amass bottles of spirit that languish in the drinks cupboard for years, so am determined to make something interesting with as many of them as possible.

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Home Made White Cherry Rum Liqueur

Ingredients
300 grams white cherries
200 grams sugar
500 ml white rum

Note: You can switch the fruit for whatever is seasonal and the spirit for whatever you have to hand. A clear spirit is best, with a flavour that marries well with your chosen fruit. Adjust the ratios of fruit, sugar and alcohol to suit your tastes. I have a sweet tooth so am aiming for my liqueur to be rich and sweet.

Method

  • Wash the cherries and remove the stems. Use a sharp knife to cut into the cherries and slice at least half way around, without cutting them in half. This makes it easier for the sugar and alcohol to take on the flavours of the skin, flesh and pips.
  • Place cherries, sugar and rum into a clean airtight glass jar and seal.
  • For the first few weeks, shake and turn regularly, to help the sugar dissolve and the flavours to mix.
  • Leave to mature for at least 3-4 months; the longer the better.
  • Strain through muslin for a clearer finished result, before bottling your finished liqueur.
  • Enjoy the alcohol-soaked fruit as a bonus dessert – lovely with double cream or vanilla ice cream.

I’ll update this post with a photo of the finished cherry rum liqueur in a few months but I’m confident it will be another really delicious home made tipple!

 

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I’m entering this into Ren Behan’s Simple & In Season Challenge, the No Waste Food Challenge (hosted this month by Utterly Scrummy Michelle) and the Four Seasons Food Challenge (hosted this month by The Spicy Pear).

 

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Read my guest post at Pete Drinks, about tasting Vietnamese rice wine liqueurs at Pho restaurant.

 

Last summer we went strawberry picking. I enjoyed it so much I ended up with far too many strawberries. Some we ate fresh, of course – with and without cream. I made a lot into strawberry jam (though it didn’t set so I have several jars of what I’m calling strawberry sauce for ice-cream!). And some went into strawberry ice-cream.

The rest I decided to make into strawberry vodka, having been inspired by friends’ efforts.

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First, I weighed my hulled and chopped strawberries. I wanted something sweet and rich so I used an equal weight of fruit and sugar. You can use less, of course – as little as half weight of the fruit. My friend recommended using about 1.25 to 1.5 times spirit to weight of fruit. I chose vodka but you can use gin, if you prefer.

With my three ingredients measured out, I divided them between five jars (somwhat approximately, since the jars were different sizes), sealed them tightly and left them in the (dark, cool) larder for just over 6 months.

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For the first few weeks, I shook and turned them once a week or so. After that, I left them untouched.

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By the time I went back to them, the colour had leached out of the fruit and into the vodka. The liquid seemed much more viscous than the original vodka.

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Pete had to help me open the jars; the lids on four of them were jammed on very tight indeed! I strained the contents through muslin straight into a large measuring jug, the easier to then bottle it.

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I deliberately mixed the results of all five jars together as I figured some might be more or less sweet or more or less alcoholic, as I’d not shared the ingredients exactly according to the different jar sizes. I wanted a single finished liqueur.

The results are absolutely fantastic!

I’ve called it a strawberry vodka liqueur rather than just strawberry vodka because it’s really thick and syrupy, very rich and sweet and has a really strong flavour.

We poured it into some saved alcohol bottles to store.

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I didn’t make much as I didn’t realise how fabulous it would be but my plan is to make lots more next strawberry season so that I can share it as gifts for friends.

P.S. The alcohol soaked fruit wasn’t wasted – we had it alongside some home-made lemon posset that evening!

Homemade Strawberry Vodka Liqueur

Strawberries, chopped, hulled and weighed
Sugar (same weight as strawberries)
Vodka (1.25 times weight/volume of strawberries)

  • Combine ingredients and seal into an airtight glass jar.
  • For the first few weeks, shake and turn regularly, to help the sugar dissolve and flavours mix.
  • Leave to mature for at least 3-4 months; the longer the better.
  • Strain through muslin for a clearer finished result.
  • Bottle and enjoy for as long as it lasts!
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