The sour cherry is a delicate and rare fruit. Known to the Swiss as «Ämmerli», to the Germans as «Schattenmorelle», and in Austria and Switzerland as «Weichsel», they are available only for a brief time of the year in farm shops and markets. Ever since regional foods have seen a resurgence in popularity, sour cherries have been a well kept secret among foodies. They normally ripen a little later than sweet cherries, and once ripe they must be eaten quickly since they spoil rapidly. Because sour cherries are so acidic, you can’t just eat a few kilos of them as quickly as you would normal cherries. It’s for this reason that there are a multitude of traditional preserves that can be made with sour cherries.

My mother, for example, makes liqueur from them. And because I’ve carried on this tradition from her, my friends often Queue up just to have a glass of it. I’m more than happy to reveal my recipe here:

1 kg sour cherries
500 g sugar
300 ml water
350 ml schnapps (such as kirsch)

Boil the sugar with the water to a thick syrup and leave to cool.

Wash the cherries and allow them to drain well, then add them to jars (filling them up half way). For the containers it’s best to use old 1-litre Weck jars. Add the schnapps to the sugar syrup and pour the mixture over the cherries, filling up to the neck of the jar.

Then place the jars in the sun until October. After that, either store it in the cellar or use it up, for example by serving it with an ice-cream dish. The liqueur has an intense flavour of almonds originating from the cherry stones, which should always be left inside the fruit for this recipe.

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