Cherry Liqueurs

Photo by: AtomicShark
Cherries macro by AtomicShark

There are two different types of cherry liqueurs: those made with dark, sweet cherries, and those that are made with sour, red cherries. While liqueurs made with tart cherries can be made into cordials, they are most often used in recipes, like cherry pie. Cherry liqueurs are great alone or in mixed drinks and are well worth the time and effort. It is best to make your liqueur during cherry season to get the best flavor and keep the costs down.

Dark Cherry Liqueur

You can make cherry liqueur with either fresh or frozen cherries, however, the best flavor is obtained if you use fresh, dark, ripe and juicy cherries.


  • 1 1/2 lbs cherries
  • Cherry pits from half of the cherries
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 750 ml 80 proof vodka
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  1. If using fresh cherries, pit the cherries with a cherry pitter and save the pits. If using frozen cherries, thaw them first.
  2. Put cherries and 1 1/4 cup of sugar in 2 Qt. Mason jar. Add vodka then shake thoroughly to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Crack open the cherry pits and chop the kernels with a chopper, then add them to the mixture. Store in a dark, cool place at least 8 weeks.
  4. Strain the resulting liquid through a stainless steel strainer into another lidded glass jar. Squeeze excess juice from the cherries using cheese cloth.
  5. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  6. Add the syrup to the cherry mixture, sweetening to taste. Seal, and store in a dark, cool place at least 2 months before drinking.

  • Use only very ripe, juicy cherries. If cherries are not ripe enough, then let them stand until as ripe and juicy as they can get.
  • You can use 1 1/2 cups of sugar instead of 1 1/4 cups and possibly skip the addition of the simple syrup after the initial steeping period. It depends on the sweetness of the fruit. You should always sample the flavor when sweetening.
  • If you crush your cherries in the beginning, then you only need to let the mixture steep for 4 weeks initially. However, this will create a lot of sediment and the finished liqueur will have to stand in a glass jar for about 4 more weeks to clarify. After that, you will want to strain the liqueur through a coffee filter before bottling. The sediment has a bitter taste to it and should either be discarded or used in other recipes.

Cherry Liqueur


  • 1 1/2 lbs sour red cherries
  • Cherry pits from half of the cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups 100 proof vodka
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Cut the cherries in half, saving the pits from one side.
  2. Divide the cherries, pits, and sugar in thirds and layer them in a half gallon sized jar. If you want to use the cinnamon, put it on top.
  3. Pour the vodka over your cherry and sugar mixture. Seal the jar, shake vigorously, then store in a cool, dark place.
  4. Shake the jar once a day during the first two weeks to thoroughly combine the flavors. Steep for 3 months.
  5. After the aging period, strain the cherry liquid through a stainless steel strainer into another lidded glass jar. Squeeze excess juice from the cherries using cheese cloth.
  6. Strain the liqueur again through a coffee filter to remove all sediment before bottling.

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