This is made in May/June for drinking at Christmas at the earliest, so make sure the bottles can be hidden from thieving hands and inquiring palates for at least 6 months.
The tree is covered in juicy, sweet black cherries; you’ve eaten them til they were coming out of your ears, baked them in a clafoutis, bottled them, given them away to your friends, and there’s still more fruit than the blackbirds can cope with…
- 1 kg ripe black eating cherries
- 1 litre clear fruit brandy (eau de vie de fruits) if you can get it, if not try a fairly neutral alcohol like white rum
- Sugar to taste. This will depend on the quantity of natural sugar in the fruit and will therefore vary from year to year depending on the amount of sunshine during ripening, but in any case not more than 350 grams for even the sweetest tooth after a really bad spring.
Rinse and drain the cherries, throwing away any under- or overripe ones. Stone the lot. This is a long, messy process and cherry juice stains clothes worse than cheap Beaujolais, so wear an apron and do this in an area where all surfaces are wipeable. If you can get your hands on a cherry stoner, the whole thing will be far quicker and much less unpleasant. You’ll still probably have blue fingertips for a couple of days, unless you wear thin rubber gloves as well.
Don’t worry, it’ll be worth the effort.
Put the stoneless cherries, the alcohol and half the cherry stones, into a hermetically sealed container. Leave to marinate for at least a month, giving the occasional shake.
When the month’s up, filter through muslin, add the sugar, bottle. Leave for at least 6 months before drinking. Share with friends and family, bask in their compliments.
NB: This drink will contain a fair amount of alcohol, probably slightly more than a fortified wine like sherry or port. Don’t drink and drive, or mix with drugs of any kind, or consume when single, lonely and in the presence of the ugly.