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Looking for advice on making sour cherry liqueur

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Looking for advice on making sour cherry liqueur

ChristinaMason | Jun 28, 2011 11:46 AM

I want to make a sour cherry liqueur from scratch similar to the one made by Leopold Brothers in Michigan. It is sweet-sour, deep red, and richly flavored. It is not spiced. Website: http://www.leopoldbros.com/New_site/M...

Tasting notes: http://www.tastings.com/scout_spirits...

According to a blogger, Leopold "start[s] by destoning the fruit using a special hand held masher, collecting all the rich juices, then adding eaux-de vie and a pinch of turbinado sugar to balance out the tart cherry flavor."

I have a quart of red pie cherries (I think they are Montmorency variety) that I bought for this purpose--and they need to be used pronto.

Does anyone have advice on how to go about this? Should I pit the cherries and macerate them in alcohol? Or perhaps food process/blend whole cherries and then strain? I'd love to get some of the almond flavor from the pits in the final product.

This post seems to indicate that macerating whole, unpitted cherries isn't going to yield a dark red liqueur, but that pitted cherries will: http://pragmaticattic.wordpress.com/2...

I'm also finding this recipe, which uses whole cherries and gets the dark result I am after (takes 8 weeks...).

Also, what spirit would be good to use for this? I'm worried Everclear will be too harsh, and the quantity of eau de viex that I'd need is out of my price range. What about a vodka like Ciroc, which is distilled from grapes? Will the proof (40%) be sufficient?

Thanks in advance for your suggestions and advice.

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