I’ve been wanting to get around to making these drunken cherries for a long time and I finally remembered to pick up cherries at the store. Plus, I think they will make great gifts come Christmas time and wanted to ensure that they are as delicious as they sound!
I was surprised at how quick and easy these are. Plus, due to how they are processed you can make each jar with a different spirit. There are a number of renditions of this recipe but below is my take. Additionally – you can always adjust the amount of sugar used to make the syrup (it will affect how thick the syrup gets as well as how sweet it becomes) as well as the amount of spirits added.
We decided to try Vodka Cherries, Amaretto Cherries, and Whiskey Cherries.
[Yield: (5) Half-Pints]
Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)
- 5 half-pint jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings) [Hint: I usually add an additional jar or 2 just in case.]
- 1 water bath
- 1 funnel
- 1 jar lifter
- 1 stainless steel ladle
- 1 slotted spoon
- 1 large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven)
- 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)
- 5 cups cherries, washed (I bought a large bag of cherries from Costco)*
- Simple Syrup (I usually make it 1 parts sugar to 2 parts water but adjust to your taste)
- (Optional) Spirit of choice**
*Cherries can be with or without pits. If you prefer to de-pit the cherries first, you may want to increase the number of cherries used.
**As noted above, due to how the cherries are processed, you can have a different spirit in each jar.
When adding spirits into each jar, I would add no more than 1tbsp depending on how strong you would like your cherries. Certain flavors, such as liqueurs, may require much less to not overpower the cherries. In the end, they are called drunken cherries – add how much/little you would like!
- Inspect each of your jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
- Place wire rack into bottom of water bath with ‘arms’ up to allow jars to be placed.
- Fill your water bath with enough water to cover each of the jars with 2-3″ of liquid and place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil).
- In a large stainless steel saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil to make Simple Syrup.
- Add cherries and return to a boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove empty jars from water bath by lifting the wire rack and setting the arms on the rim of the water bath. Then, using jar lifter empty and remove the jar from the water.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove cherries from syrup and funnel into each hot jar keeping a 1/2in head space. [Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
- Pour desired spirit over cherries using quantities as noted above.
- Ladle cherry syrup over each jar of cherries maintaining the 1/2 in headspace.
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
- Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten. [Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel.]
- Once finger tightened, return to warm water bath to avoid thermal shock. [Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.] Lower wire rack once full.
- Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
- Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes [refer to your elevations processing time for correct info].
- After 10 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
- Once again, lifting wire rack and placing arms on canner rim, use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
- Wait 24 hours before touching the jars. After 24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed). Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.