Here is how to make homemade kirsch, it’s a bit of a throwback to the sixties when the drink was very popular. If you are into baking and cocktails it’s a great tipple to have on hand and a good way to use up cherry stones too.
How To Make Homemade Kirsch
Kirsch is a classic drink but one that can be a tad expensive to buy. It is not a liqueur but instead is an infused alcohol which as well as being extremely tasty to drink is invaluable in the kitchen for cooking and baking.
I remember my parents always having a rather ancient bottle in the cocktail cabinet. It came out when my Mum was baking but didn’t get much of an airing at any other time.
What is Kirsch
Kirsch originates from the Black Forest region of Germany and means cherry in German. Sometimes known as Kirschwasser, or cherry water. This is a clear brandy made commercially by double fermenting cherries and their stones.
What does it taste like?
Kirsch is not a sweet liqueur, in fact it is not a liqueur at all. It is an infusion which means it doesn’t contain sugar. It has an almost bitter yet subtle cherry taste and also the taste of almonds coming from the cherry stones.
In the UK cherries are only abundant for a short period of time and sometimes you can pick up some serious bargains during this time.
When this happens it seems a crime to waste any part of this juicy and heavenly fruit. Don’t throw away the stones make full use of them instead to make your own homemade kirsch.
Are cherry stones poisonous?
There is sometimes talk of cyanide poisoning with cherry and other fruit stones/pits/pips. Here is a good article from Good Housekeeping which I hope will put your mind at rest on this one.
Ingredients for Kirsch
There are only 2 ingredients in Kirsch. It is not made with the cherries themselves but the stones. All you have to do is remember not to throw the damn things away!
The other ingredient here is vodka.
How to make kirsch
Wash the cherry stones by just giving them a rinse and then patting dry on a clean towel. Now pop them into a plastic bag and bash them with a wooden mallet or rolling pin.
Use the plastic bag or you’ll have the things flying about all over the kitchen and the mess will be terrible.
Once you have your smashed the stones just tip them into a sterilised bottle and pour in 500ml/2 cups of vodka (not Stolly, go for a normal basic brand!), you’ll need about 50g/2oz of cherry stones for this recipe.
Set the bottle (with top on of course) aside in a cupboard for at least a couple of weeks and keep adding more bashed up stones whenever you have them.
I’ve left my homemade kirsch for 4 months and added stones again and again.
Then simply strain through a double layer of kitchen roll and pour into a sterilised bottle.
Kirsch – the lowdown
How long will kirsch last?
I’ve kept mine for up to a year.
Remember to always used sterilised glassware when making your own hooch. Check out my instructions on how to sterilise glassware before you start
How to serve homemade kirsch
Kirsch should be served at room temperature just like brandy. It is often drunk as an aperitif before a meal. However, some folks have it like brandy after dinner.
In food – Often used as part of the base for cheese fondue in Switzerland. It is also used in baking and in desserts too. Oh and in chocolates too.
I use my homemade kirsch in my French style cherry clafoutis recipe.
Looking for other recipes for using cherries? Then check these out;
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Finally, if you try this recipe for homemade kirsch then do leave a comment. I love hearing from readers and respond to everyone as soon as I can. Want more Larder Love, then follow me on Facebook and Instagram and sign up for my free weekly newsletter too.
PS – Disclaimer – like all my recipes you make them at your own risk. This is a very old recipe for homemade kirsch. Nowadays some people make it without breaking the stones. I’ve been making it in the way shown here for years and have never had any issues at all.
- 50 g cherry stones
- 500 ml vodka
- Rinse cherry stones to remove all juicy flesh and pat dry
- Place cherry stones in a plastic bag and bash with a mallet or rolling pin to break them up
- Pour broken stones into a sterilised bottle and top with vodka and a lid
- Set aside in a cupboard for at least 2 weeks
- Add more broken stones whenever you have them
- I have left mine for 4 months adding stones whenever we have cherries to eat
- Strain through a double layer of kitchen roll
- Decant into a sterilised bottle