A few weeks ago, I decided I'd try my hand at making brandied cherries, thinking that they might make good Christmas gifts for a few Manhattan-loving persons in my life. I went out and bought a simply enormous bottle of E&J XO brandy and several bags of pitted and frozen cherries (as it was December, the only fresh cherries available were from Chile and heart-stoppingly expensive) and got to work. Since I didn't have to pit the cherries, it was the work of a few minutes to prep everything. I boiled all the jars and made syrup with the brandy and sugars, tossing in a few cinnamon sticks for good measure.
This recipe mades a lot of brandied cherries, which is great if you're planning on giving them away as presents. Otherwise, you could easily halve the recipe.
4lbs pitted cherries (preferably Bing)
8 cups brandy
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
Jars with tight-fitting lids
In a large sauce pan, whisk together the brandy and sugars and add in the cinnamon sticks. Bring mixture to a boil and then turn down to a simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Pour the mixture over the cherries in a large bowl and allow to come to room temperature. In the meantime, sterilize your jars by boiling in hot water. Ladle the cherry mixture into the jars and seal tightly. Allow to rest for 4-6 weeks in the refrigerator before sampling. Cherries should stay good in the refrigerator for a year.