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Cherry Wine Aperitif



Makes about 5 quarts

According to Bernard Doumerc this apéritif is more correctly called “old ladies and lace,” because its bouquet and taste instantly evoke the image. Although any cherry may be used, the guignes variety, locally called guignolet, is considered the best. Both the leaves and fruit may be used. The leaves from non-treated trees should be harvested immediately after the last of its fruit has been picked. This is normally at the end of June or early July when the leaves are most flavorful. The pits are a must in this recipe; a vanilla bean is optional.

    • 11 oz (300 g) cherry leaves


    • or 2 lbs (900 g) fresh cherries-washed   and pitted


    • 12 cracked cherry pits-crush with a hammer


    • 1 1/2 lbs (725 g) granulated sugar


    • 4 1/3 cups (1 l) l’eau-de-vie


  • 4 1/3 quarts (4 l) dry red  AOC wine
    1. Gently wash the leaves in several changes of water, drain. Place either the leaves or cherries in 6-quart lidded-crock.
    2. Add the sugar, vanilla bean if desired, wine and l’eau-de-vie and macerate for 40 days. Shaking occasionally.
    3. Strain the contents of the crock into a catch basin, discard solids, and filter through paper and muslin. Bottle or store in mason jars.


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