This morning I tasted the chokecherry cordial that’s been brewing in my fridge for the past three or four months, pronounced it completely awesome, and set about straining and bottling the first batch and starting another.
Last fall, after harvesting a couple gallons of chokecherries, I made a large amount of juice that I thought I might make into jelly. Everyone had told me the berries were way too sour to ingest without a generous lacing of sugar, but when I tasted that juice, it wasn’t that sour at all.
Instead of making the juice into jelly, as I’d planned, we just drank the juice straight up (and discovered that doing so is akin to eating large amounts of cheese in terms of what it does to the digestive tract). The rest of the cherries were washed, bagged, and frozen in the following ratio: 3 cups cherries to one cup sugar.
A few months ago, I took a bag of those cherries out of the freezer and crammed them into a bottle (using a funnel and a chopstick), covering them with vodka. Every once in awhile I’d shake the bottle, and eventually the liquid turned a deep reddish-purple color.
I’m somewhat concerned about the inclusion of the pits in this preparation–they do have trace amounts of cyanide (like peach pits and apple seeds), and I’m wondering if that will be a problem since I soaked the fruits whole in the vodka.
All the information I’ve read about the pits is that you’re safe as long as you don’t cook or crush the pits or consume them in large amounts–but alcohol is a strong extractive agent. Still, I think serving the cordial in small amounts should be OK–and a small amount is really all you need!
As always, I’m happy to test my own recipes on myself–and this one is both gorgeous and delicious! I may start making other kinds of cordials based on what fruits are in season (for home consumption only, of course), and once I get through this bottle of Smirnoff, I can switch to Still 173’s local vodka and rum for the base.