Making tart cherry liquor has turned into an annual ritual. I was afraid that this year, because of the wedding, I was going to miss cherry season. I tried to tell myself it was no big deal; I don't get to make this every year. To my great amazement, I saw tart cherries at the farmer's market last Sunday and snatched-up 2lbs at a mere $5. As I skipped home to start the first stage of making this liquor, I realized the making of it is a big deal to me.
I have a semi-auto cherry pitter, which is tons of fun to use. The cherry juice splatters everywhere, making it mandatory to tie aprons in odd ways around my body. The "cha-chunk" noise of my pitter as a push the lever into a fresh cherry is very satisfying. Better yet is the plunking of these mangled globes into the liquor and the patient waiting as it changes into something you aren't quite sure how it will taste. Each year I have made this liquor, it has tasted completely different. These type of surprises are ones we rarely get now a days. It reminds me a lot of when I was young and I would mail in a box-top with some money; I had no idea if I would ever get my snazzy decoder ring or my money was lost to the cereal prize gods.
It takes about 4 to 5 months to make it, which falls perfectly with winter, right when you want a little reminder of summer. A romanticized version of summer, of course, in a small glass of cherry goodness. This time around I decided to make a double-batch so I have some of this liquid to give as presents this holiday season.
Have you ever tasted cherry liquor? It is an acquired taste, but if you like dessert liquors or after-dinner drinks, I would give this drink a taste. If you still have tart or sour cherries in season where you are and you try this recipe, let me know how it turns out for you.