This easy Cherry Pit Liqueur is made using the leftover pits of cherries and leftover syrup from a cherry preserve.
I am a sucker when it comes to using anything leftover, unless I am sure that there is no other use of it!
If you don’t make your own fruit preserves to have leftover syrup, below you will find how to easily make some syrup yourselves.
Making liqueurs is very easy and you will find a few links of previous liqueurs I have made at the end of this post. It can get even easier and cheaper if you preserve fruit and I will explain why.
Years ago I used to discard the leftover syrups of the fruit preserves I made. I would save some to wet the sponge cakes I made and most of it was wasted. However, experimenting I started using them in my recipes by substituting sugar with the leftover syrups.
I am proud to say that I have invented this method and not only you do not waste the leftover syrup but you benefit by adding more flavour to the new recipe you are using it in.
Many of the Greek desserts are drenched in syrup so instead of making one from scratch, I substituted that syrup with the fruit preserves syrup, adding the flavour of the fruit to the recipe as well.
I then experimented with the Cherry Espresso Liqueur back in 2009 and since then I do it all the time. I don’t just use any syrup but try and use the same or a combination which will match. Some other recipes I remember using leftover syrup is in Mahalebi, Halvas (see chocolate halvas), Panna Cotta, Baklavas (recipe in my cookbook), Cheesecake etc.
Since today we are talking about liqueurs, I would like to recap in this post a few things you should know when making them:
a) You can either use rectified spirit (95 – 97 % alcohol by volume) or if that is difficult to find you can use vodka. Don’t use any cheap vodka because that will surely affect its taste. You can also make liqueurs using gin, tequila, rum, brandy, whiskey and here in Greece we also use ouzo, tsikoudia, tsipouro, raki, zivania, which are similar to Italian grappa. Each one gives its distinct flavour. If you use brandy or whiskey, that will also affect its colour as well.
b) Always use glass jars or bottles when making liqueurs.
c) You can use whole fruit or pieces of fruit, pits from cherries or other stone fruit, or the rind or zest of citrus fruit. Let them macerate in the alcohol for 20 – 30 days or more, until their flavour is released. The longer you leave them the better flavour you get. In some recipes the alcohol should be stored somewhere dark such as a closet and other recipes in the sun. The second technique is widely used in Greece but I am not sure if it is used in other countries as well.
d) Anything that gives flavour can be made into a liqueur so we can also make liqueurs using flowers, herbs, certain vegetables and of course spices.
e) Liqueurs are usually very sweet. In order to do this you need to make a syrup which you will mix with the alcohol. In some recipes the sugar is added together with the alcohol and in others we make the syrup and mix it later on.
f) If we want to combine our liqueurs with spices, we can use cinnamon stick, cloves, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom, star anise, etc. (The spices should be used whole and not too much).
g) We then remove the fruit, the peels, the pits or spices or herbs etc and drain the liqueur using a coffee filter.
h) Liqueurs do not need to age but the taste will improve if you leave it to rest for about a month.
When I was in Athens last month I made 2 kilos of cherry fruit preserve for my children, who love it.
There was also some leftover “tsipouro” (a pomace drink, similar to grappa) in the fridge and since the only one who drinks some alcohol, every now and then, is my son who is now living in Cyprus, the idea of making liqueur with the pits was a good way to use it.
The tsipouro was about 250 ml. All I did was to put the the liquor in a jar and add as many pits, covered by the alcohol and let it steep in the fridge for a few weeks. At the beginning the liquid looked very pale in colour but as time passed it got darker.
Since the liquor was already in the fridge and the quantity I made was not much, I decided to leave it in the fridge.
By the time the macerating time was over we had already eaten and used some of the fruit preserve in desserts, so I was lucky to have leftover cherry syrup to make the liqueur.
The amount of syrup you add is a matter of taste and it depends on how sweet you want the liqueur to be. What I do, I add, mix and taste until the desired sweetness. Don’ t over do it as you might end up drunk 🙂
The ratio of the syrup should be 2 sugar 1 water.
Put the sugar and water in a pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.
Set aside until it cools.
Pour the syrup gradually in the liqueur, taste and adjust.
There! Apart from the steeping time, the liqueur is ready in less than ten minutes with full flavour of cherries and the only thing you buy is the alcohol.
Bottle it in lovely bottles and you have wonderful, homemade gifts for friends and family!
Last but not least, do not discard the cherry stems. Dry them and make a herbal tea, which is a superb diuretic.
- Cherry or sour cherry pits
- 250 ml tsipouro or other alcohol
- 2 - 3 rose geranium leaves
- 5 - 6 whole cherries (optional)
- 250 ml homemade cherry syrup
- Put the cherry pits and the rose geranium leaves in a jar and add enough alcohol to cover the pits. (You can also add a few whole cherries which break so as to release some juice).
- Let it macerate in a dark place for about one month.
- Drain the liquor as well as the syrup and mix.
- Store in clean, sterilized bottles.
The amount of syrup you add is a matter of taste and it depends on how sweet you want the liqueur to be. What I do, I add, mix and taste until the desired sweetness. Don' t over do it as you might end up drunk 🙂
Nutrition InformationYield 16 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 81Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 0gSugar 8gProtein 0g
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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,