I know what you’re thinking – why pickle cherries?
I was thinking the same thing when I had them at a restaurant. It was used in a salad and as garnishes for cocktails.
Cherries have a very short season, and with the season almost over, some of the last few cherries are coming off soft, when I like them crunchy. So I thought, why waste a bag of soft cherries, I’m going to pickle them.
I used a basic pickling recipe of apple cider vinegar diluted with water, and a bit of sugar just to cut into the vinegar even though the cherries are sweet. And added a dash of rum, just for fun.
The result is some well-preserved cherries that I can now enjoy way past cherry season. And despite the kick of vinegar in the taste when you bite into the cherries, it gets counterbalanced by the natural sweetness.
Below I show you how I used the pickled cherries as a garnish for a whisky-based cocktail. (Whisky and bourbon drinks are all the rage right now.) I think the pickled cherries really helped to smoothen out the strong whisky. I still have a whole jar of cherries, so I’ll probably use it as a garnish for salads or pork chop.
Pickled Cherries Recipe
1 lb. fresh cherries
1 part apple cider vinegar
1 part water
1 T sugar
1 T rum
Place cherries with stem in a one-quart mason jar, then mix rest of the ingredients in a bowl and pour into the cherries. Refrigerate for three to four days.
Summer Sweet Tea
1 jigger of whisky
1/2 jigger of vermouth
1 cup sweet iced tea*
garnish with pickled cherries
Add a couple of ice cubes in a cocktail shaker, and pour in whisky, vermouth, and then sweet ice tea. Shake and pour without ice cubes into tumbler and garnish with pickled cherries.
*To make sweet ice tea, you basically get your favorite quality black tea such as Earl Grey and add sugar to the tea when it’s hot. Then refrigerate to drink as sweet iced tea. My favorite iced tea bags I’m currently using are these “Blend No. 46 Exceptional Iced Tea” from Portland’s Steven Smith Tea. They’re available online.
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