One of the great joys of moving to deepest rural Kent has been our newfound proximity to fruit – and particularly, cherry, orchards. We’ve witnessed the whole cycle of the agricultural year roll on, day by day - from the budding of nascent leaves in the early Spring, then the flourish of frothy blossom, followed by the magnificent fruiting. More latterly, we’ve seen the leaves turn a spectacular flame-red before they’ve finally withered away and fallen to the ground.
The orchards are completely bare now, but during the summer, when they were laden with more fruit than was altogether seemly, I set aside a few cherries – regrettably not many, because they were too delicious to resist eating straight off the tree – to make a trial quantity of cherry vodka.
I say ‘trial’, because I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to vodka. If I have fruit in anything, it’s gin – and with gin, it’s got to be sloe and/or damson.
But this year, I felt the cherries were too special to wave goodbye to them after only a few short weeks of the season. Could I literally bottle their wonderful flavours in the hope of summoning up the sunshine in in the dark, cold winter evenings?
The answer? It is, I’m pleased to say, an emphatic yes.
I realise it’s rather too late in the day this year for you to make some, but I urge you to bookmark this recipe ready for next summer.
And now I’ve bottled the resultant liquor, I’m left with another edible ‘problem’ – what to do with leftover vodka-soaked cherries?
And that, of course, is what I’ll be posting next.