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Cherry Sorbet with Homemade Cherry Liqueur

Before cherry season is over freeze some cherries for a Christmas sorbet but make this cherry liqueur now so it has plenty of time to age.  The recipe for this cherry sorbet is a tweaked version of one from Food Network’s Kathleen Daelemans.  The liqueur recipe is from a small pamphlet of liqueurs and cordials I found in the 1980s amongst my mother’s collection of recipes.  The pamphlet is entitled A Collection of Recipes for the Making of Cordials & Liqueures Prepared for Gryphon Cellarmasters Society for Creative Anachronism by Mistress Sharane de KondrakI have no idea when it was written as there is no copyright indicated nor have I any idea how long my mother had it.  At any rate, I have made several of the recipes in the pamphlet with great success…namely the Curacao, Orgeat, Banana, Peach, Plum, Berry,Coffee and Wild Cherry Bounce liqueurs.

There is actually a difference between cordials and liqueurs:  a cordial is made of crushed fruit while a liqueur is made of nuts, seeds and herbs.  Cordial and liqueur are used interchangably in the USA, as they are both liquor based.  However, in the Common Wealth a cordial has no alcohol…Rose’s of Lime and Grenadine are good examples. 

You’ll need to buy or pick at least a gallon of cherries for 1 batch of sorbet and 2 quarts of cherry liqueur.  I recommend darkstone cherries, Bings or Rainiers.  They ‘re sweeter and juicier than other varieties.  But of-course you’ll want to stock the freezer with as much as possible because there is always claufouti in the winter and cherry sauce for meat and coulis for ice cream, smoothies and pudding dishes plus chocolate covered cherries for Christmas and Dark Forest Cake for Valentine’s Day.  I’m sure you’ll have no problem eating every cherry stored.

In case you don’t have a cherry pitter the following video will show you how to make your own cherry pitter with a fork.  It’s definitely worth a watch.

Cherry Sorbet with Cherry Liqueur


  • 6 cups of pitted frozen cherries
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cherry Liqueur


  1. Sprinkle sugar over frozen cherries and refrigerate over night.
  2. Add lemon juice and Cherry Liqueur.
  3. Transfer to a food processor and puree as smooth as desired.
  4. Pour into an ice cream machine with dasher in place and turning.  Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. Transfer to a freezer safe container and place in freezer for at least 2 hours.
  6. To serve, let set at room temperature for 10 minutes before scooping.
  7. Note:  substitute 1/8 tsp almond extract or 2 Tbsp Kirsch for Cherry Liqueur

Homemade Cherry Liqueur


  • 2 quarts of fresh or frozen cherries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 quarts Brandy or Scotch of choice


  1. Use 2 clean quart jars with lids.  Pack cherries firmly into jars with a sprinkle of sugar over each layer.
  2. When the sugar is mostly dissolved by cherry juice, add brandy to the top. 
  3. Cover jars with lids and place in a cool, dark place for 4 months.
  4. After 4 months, remove cherries and press to extract juice.  A fine mesh sieve over a bowl works well.  Place a smaller bowl over cherries and fill the bowl with weight, a brick or large cans of food.  Reserve the cherries for ice cream topping or baking in your favorite cake.
  5. When cherries have been pressed of all liquid available, return the liquid to the jar and stir.  Strain and bottle for storage.
  6. The liqueur will improve with more age.  If there is any sediment, siphon off the clear liqueur or strain it through a metal coffee filter.
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