Like catching fireflies - only these wont die. The local cherry season goes by so quickly it’s like an early summer fling with the sweetest little guy then poof! He’s gone. I know you can extend it if you’re willing to get cherries from god-knows-where but I am a purest and I covet the respect of the local true seasons of things. It brings me a simple joy I’ve hung onto since I was little.
This year I’ve latched onto brandying cherries for old fashioned whisky cocktails while there’s still piles of them at the Farmer’s Market. It’s super easy and I can’t wait to have them for our specialty cocktails!
2 quart tubs sweet cherries (2.8# aprx)
1 750 ml bottle brandy
1 cup sugar + 1 cup brown sugar
Boil a big pot of water and drop enough jars & lids in for a moment to sterilize them, pull um out with tongs & set aside. Rinse the cherries in a colander, shake um out & set the colander on a plate to catch the drips. get two bowls & a cherry pitter & sit down. Pitting the cherries in a bowl helps keep the squirting juice at bay, although, I gotta say, that part is really wonderful for some reason…it’s so sweet & fragrant. Pop the cherries into the other bowl as you go - this one should be heat proof or just use a pot. When you’re done, bring the brandy & sugars to a boil until the sugar is dissolved & just no longer gritty at the bottom. Pour it over your pitted cherries & ladle them & all the brandy into jars, seal tightly & refrigerate for four weeks or more.
Lynette La Mere, Pure Joy Catering, Executive Chef