Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Sour Cherry Infused Vodka

Yesterday Maryanne and I were planning to finally get back to making cheese. We took a class at The Rosemary House a few years ago, but then family situations came up that made us put away our cultures and cheesecloth. So a couple of friends came over to help. One of them, Mary, said, "You have some interesting project going every day!" I never really thought about it, but it does seem that most days there is something fun to do. Today it was the sour cherries.
Last year I stumbled across some sour cherries at the Lancaster Central Market, and having recently read about the possible effects of sour cherry juice on arthritis and achy joints, I decided to make a tincture. So began my journey into the joys of fruit infused vodka (or alcohol of your choice).It was just going to be a tincture - pure and simple - but then things took a turn. I purchased 2 pounds of the cherries and pitted them before putting them into a large jar and covering them with vodka. 6 months later, it was about ready but my sister suggested adding a vanilla bean for another month or so. There was only about a quart when it was all said and done, and we've sipped it on occasion, wishing there was more.
This year I got 5 pounds of cherries, and may go back.
In the meantime, I've really been enjoying this form of "tincturing" . The other day someone on a forum suggested lavender liqueur, so I infused 2 heaping tablespoons of fresh Hidcote blossoms in a pint of vodka overnight. Into that pint, I also added a couple of tablespoons of sugar. The next afternoon, I tasted it, and the lavender flavor was distinct, but not overpowering. Time to strain it out. I zested a lemon into the jar and gave the lemon a healthy squeeze, and returned the lavender infused vodka to the jar. The hope is that it will taste something like lavender lemonade when it is finished in a couple of months. By the way, these infusions REALLY get mellow the longer you can manage to let them sit.
There are several pints of strawberry infused vodka out there, and one of blueberry. I'm going to be going into the woods for wild black raspberries in the next couple of days :-).
You don't need to use vodka, necessarily. Rum would be great, and some people prefer whiskey. I have a couple of things soaking in brandy, too.
Last year I spent a lot of time making herbal tinctures. I suppose this is the year of the fruit infused vodka!

15 comments:

Divaeva said...

mmm..I think I may have to try this one! sounds delicious!

Mandy Higgs said...

I love your blog!! This looks so good:D I just planted my first herb garden last saturday afternoon:D I'll be reading your blog to tend to my new baby herbs:D
Thanks so much
Mandy

Tina Sams said...

Congrats on your first herb garden, Mandy. Be prepared to have a lot of great herbal adventures!

Lindy said...

Mmmmmmm - YUM! I am moving back home to the "Cherry Capital of the World" - Traverse City, MI. I will definitely have lots of cherries for this "tincture" - for medicinal purposes only, but of course :-D

Lindy

Mandy Higgs said...

Hello Tina:D It's mandy again:D I want to learn so much about herbs and how to use them:D Can you recommend a book or two that's great for beginners:D
Thanks so much Tina
Mandy

Tina Sams said...

Well, of course my first suggestion would be a subscription to The Essential Herbal magazine OR the book "Under the Sun" that includes the first five years of the spring and summer issues of the magazine - great stuff! www.esssentialherbal.com
After that, a lot of herbie I know started with Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, which covers a lot of different herbs and ways to use them.

Mandy Higgs said...

Thanks Tina!!
Mandy

herbal capsules said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Martha said...

The lavender sounds interesting. We make orange and apricot and sometimes peach liqueurs. They are sweet and tasty and a great way to finish a meal.

Herbs Medicinal said...
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Jennifer said...

How wonderful!!! Mmmm cherries!!!

Courtney R Beard said...

I'm really enjoying your blog! When you are doing these liquers/tinctures how do you seal them for storage?

Tina Sams said...

Since they are in vodka (or brandy, or rum...), you don't need to worry, as the alcohol preserves itself. Last night I put together fresh apricots and orange zest in vodka - can't wait!

Duane said...

correction to Tina Sams link:

www.essentialherbal.com

(Hers has one 's' too many.

Tina Sams said...

Thank you Duane. Looking at that reply, it appears perhaps I was testing too many of the infusions that day...

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