PS – Let me put the post script at the beginning, so I can convince you to give this a try. It’s now December; I left my jars of Wisniak undisturbed for months and months. My patience has been rewarded! I just now strained out the cherries; the cherry liqueur left behind is dark, fruity, sweet, and smooth. I will make much more next summer when cherries are in season. It’s so wonderful, that I want to share it with everyone I know!
Popular all over Eastern Europe, I’ve been served this liqueur as an after dinner drink in Polish restaurants. That happened recently on a trip to Lodz, on the very day that I had just purchased cherries from a vendor in the pedestrian underpass. At 6.5 zl per kilogram (about $1.10 per pound) I couldn’t pass them by. We ate the first kilogram, so I bought a second one to bring home and turn into Wisniak. I’m sure Ed could see the “I can make this” light bulb appear over my head as we sipped our cordials.
Similar in taste to our Cherry La La (which is ready in a week rather than months), Wisniak is fruity and very smooth – an ideal way to end a meal. I’ve been told that if you make Wisniak when cherries first come into season, it reaches perfection in time for the holidays and should be served with a honey cake. I don’t know if I’ll be able to wait that long.
This can be made with sweet or sour cherries, although officially with sour cherries this is called wisniowka. In either case, you may want to adjust the sugar according to your taste and the sweetness of your fruit.
1 pound pitted cherries
1 cup sugar (I used superfine sugar because I had some on hand)
2 – 3 cups vodka and brandy (I used enough to fill my containers in a 3:1 (respectively) ratio)
- Combine all of the ingredients in sterile containers. (I submerged the jars and lids in boiling water for 10 minutes.) Make sure you have enough alcohol to cover the cherries.
- Store the containers for 4 to 6 weeks, strain and re-bottle.
- Allow to age 2 to 3 months.
- Traditionally, this should just be vodka, but I think the flavors of brandy and cherry together, so adding a bit is my American twist on this Polish classic. That, and I was just a little short on vodka. 😉
- We attended a luncheon recently and were served a homemade, non-alcoholic cherry cordial. If cherries are still a bargain, I’m going to give this a try too. Non-alcoholic was very important in this case. The blood alcohol limit in Poland is .02 and it’s strictly enforced with penalties of up to two years in prison. So people who are driving just don’t drink. Fortunately, for us and establishments serving liquor, the public transportation is excellent and taxis are very affordable.
|Within hours, osmosis has begun|
Next week – a cold bób salad (fava bean, broad bean)