Last Sunday the grandmas went fruit picking in Homer Glen, IL, just an hour outside of Chicago. We've already made a little post about our adventure, should you be interested. It was one of the most expensive grandma clubs, but we had so much fun that we agree it was worth every penny. We also froze a lot of what we picked, so we now have fruit for a good while. All of us made plenty with the fresh fruits we picked - one of the many things I made is a recipe that has been on my to-do list for years: cherry liquor.
The only cherries they had ready to pick were sour cherries. At first, all the grannies were wondering how sour were the sour cherries and what we could use them in. All of those questions stopped once we sampled a cherry from the tree. It was so yummy on its own, we fell in love with them. When I got back from picking a few of hours later I was so happy to find that most cherry liquor recipes called for sour cherries. With that, my adventure in cherry splatter began.
A couple of years ago I got a cherry stoner/pitter and was excited to actually put it to use. But, holy crap, pitting cherries is a messy messy job. I ended up putting on a apron and tying a dish towel around my neck in order to catch most of the splatters from the pump striking through the cherry to pop out the pit. It was a fun mess though.
The original recipe I have had my eyes on for years used both the cherries and their leaves...I didn't pick leaves, so I was very sad at this discovery. (It required about 60 leaves, too many to just say, eh, screw it). So after some searching and recipe comparing, I decided to use this recipe for tart-cherry liquor. The cherries need to settle for a few weeks, then after the sugar is added, it needs to settle for a few months. So, this seems it will be a winter liquor, which is fine by me. With how short cherry season is though, I strongly suggest to go forth to the farmer's markets or u-pick farms and gather enough to eat and make liquor with. You can find a u-pick farm near you at this site, which separates the listing by state. I would definitely call the farm before you go to see if they are open this season and what is available to pick.
With all that, I hope everyone has a lovely 4th of July and gets to eat some awesome pastries this weekend!