I've finally figured out how to have an amazing Valentine's Day: Treat myself like a princess, wear a pretty outfit, eat and drink what I like -- and oh yes, accept gifts of love from anyone worth my attention. Whether you're focusing on yourself by default this year, or sharing your happiness with somebody special, start preparing for a fabulous day now by making this traditional Eastern European liqueur made with sour cherries. It'll be ready when you are to mix up fun, bright pink cocktails that make delicious antidotes to Cupid's poison arrows.
A Little History
Rumkirschen is closely related to Maraschino, which before Prohibition was best known as a liqueur made from fermented Marasco cherries. Yes, those cocktail cherries we know and love used to come packed in their own booze. When the teetotalers took over, the cherries got repackaged in sugary, red-dyed syrup; these days, it's tough to find sour cherries at all in the United States. Traditional cherry liqueurs are still very common in Europe, but in the U.S. they're a rare delicacy. Look for Morello cherries at Trader Joe's, or buy 'em online from Oregon Fruit.
- 20 ounces Morello cherries, jarred or canned (if you must)
- 1 cup amber or dark rum
It's simple as can be. Separate the cherries from the syrup, keeping both. Combine the syrup with the rum, and pour it back over the cherries. Divide the mixture into clean jars or bottles, cap tightly, shake to combine and refrigerate at least 3 days before tasting. It will keep indefinitely.
How To Use It
Rumkirschen is delicious straight over ice, but it's more fun in cocktails. For a romantic take on Kir, add a little of the syrup and a cherry to a glass of organic champagne. Or if your Valentine's plans are a little more party-oriented try the Pop My Cherry cocktail: Mix 1/2 ounce of rumkirschen with 1/4 ounce of triple sec and 1/4 ounce of orange juice. Pour over ice, and top it off with sparkling water if it's too heavy.
You can incorporate rumkirschen into your desserts, too. It makes a delicious topping for ice cream, cheesecake or pound cake. Have fun, you deserve it.
h/t Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It -- an instant kitchen classic