A couple of weeks ago I asked folks on Twitter, ‘What should I do next; orange or cherry liqueur?’ The resounding response was for cherry so I went on a Google journey to find the best method for making it as it’s not something I’ve done before. I found several versions and I’m sure they are all great but the one thing I just could not handle? SIX MONTHS? My impatient self struggled with waiting one month for Limoncello yet knew that I still shared that recipe in time for readers and friends to make something to enjoy this summer. It just seemed impossible to consider that I would share the process of making cherry liqueur and say, ‘See you in 6 months for a cocktail.’ So I punted.
I recalled seeing Matt Armendariz make a Cherry Sidecar using fresh cherries and brandy and at the time I wasn’t interested in waiting 5 days but I thought I could handle that now; especially in comparison to 6 months. Matt had made a cherry/brandy liqueur to replace the traditional brandy and orange liqueur in a sidecar. This version using fresh cherries is so perfectly seasonal and the type of cocktail I love; a bit sweet and a bit tart and certainly a lot beautiful!
This was certainly my own ‘Cherrypalooza’ – the cocktail consists of a liqueur that is a combination of brandy infused cherries, a cherry syrup that is made from more fresh cherries and sugar and then garnished using the maraschino cherries I made a couple of months ago that combines cherries and Luxardo liqueur for a much more natural and tasty treat.
Matt’s version was his attempt to recreate a cocktail he enjoyed at Hatfield’s in LA. I’ve not had the Hatfield’s cocktail but I have to say, this was not just a great combination of flavors; it was also an absolutely gorgeous drink. Start now and you can have one next weekend; that’s better than waiting until Christmas for something, right? I’ve done a bit of my own revising; I like it served cold on the rocks and with a sugared rim; that little bit of sugar seemed perfect with the tart bite of the cocktail itself but it’s totally optional; sugar only if you want to!
This cocktail is filled with the flavor is fresh cherries and is just gorgeous to boot!
- 1 pound fresh sweet cherries, pitted and halved. Save some pits for the infusion.
- 1 pint bottle brandy
- 1 pound fresh sweet cherries, pitted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- Sugar for the rim
- Fresh lime slices and maraschino cherries for garnish
- Combine the pitted and halved cherries and the brandy in a container. Several recipes I read for making the cherry liqueur indicate adding some of the pits as well so I put in a couple of tablespons of them too.
- Cover and keep in a cool place for at least 5 days.
- Combine the cherries, sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Add the mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the syrup through a strainer and remove the solids. Put into a container and store in the refrigerator.
- Rub the rim of your glass with a lime slice and dip it into sugar. Put the glasses into the refrigerator or freezer to chill.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and for each cocktail add 1 & 1/2 oz of the cherry brandy, 1/2 oz of the cherry syrup and 1/2 oz of freshly squeezed lime juice.
- Shake vigorously 10-15 times.
- Fill the chilled glasses with ice and pour the cocktail into the glass.
- Garnish with a lime slice and maraschino cherry.
Prep time includes the time to pit the cherries. I use a cherry pitter; it still takes some time but does make much quicker work of the process.
Join me every Friday for Friday Cocktail Hour when I’ll make a cocktail I love, recreate one from a local establishment or maybe just have some fun experimenting!
By the way; see that new form for my recipes?
I was honored to be asked by the folks at Ziplist to be one of their blog partners.
Now you can not only print recipes from this site but will be able to save them to a universal recipe box as well.