Persephone’s Drinks Cabinet | Cherry Shrub

I couldn’t let cherry season pass with a cocktail of some sort.  And this one is so surprising and light: low in alcohol high in gorgeous cherry flavor.  It’s an ancient recipe out of Mary Randolph’s The Virginia House-wife originally published back in 1838.  And it’s perfect for sipping on the screened porch on hot afternoons.

I had a copious amount of a couple of types of cherries that were languishing with their pits still firmly inside.  I didn’t feel like pitting them.  I’ve been pitting them for days: for a few quick moments after lunch, at night after Cherub goes to bed, while something else is cooking, at parties dedicated entirely to cherry pitting, complete with girlfriends and gossip.  I was tired.

Enter Mrs. Randolph, with her refreshingly vague recipe that made me feel comfortable enough to dump the whole clean cherries (who knows what the weight was or the cup amount?) into a double boiler and cook until they had given up all their juice and stewed with their pits for a bit.  I emptied the pot into an old clean pillow case and squeezed out all the juice, added a scant amount of sugar, a generous glug of brandy (thanks, Cronus) and poured into a clean bottle with a bar top.  Many recipes out there include stewing the fruit in vinegar for a couple of weeks, but I was intrigued by this (inspiringly lazy) method.

I’m stashing mine in the fridge for mixing with either sparkling or still water (about half and half is a good ratio).  And sitting on the back patio.  And not pitting any more cherries.  For now.

Playlist included Summer Holiday, by Wild Nothing.

P.S. – Thanks to my cherry-pitting girlfriends (both worth a follow) for the post idea.

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