Sep 03 2012

Vin de cerisier, 1ère partie.

Published by Christine at 5:45 am under Uncategorized

Right on the heels of my post on plum vodka comes another homemade apéritif, which will probably have some of you wonder if The Flexitarian Cook hasn’t suddenly become The Dipsomaniac Cook. Fear not. It simply is that the season lends itself to the making of such, because of the availability of the needed ingredients. Take today’s variety. When else could I find the cherry leaves necessary for this recipe? See? It had to be done now.

My mother, in her interest for all things old-fashioned and homemade, made this a few times; it is this memory I have of her that prompted me to try it this year. It reminded her of her own childhood, when people in rural areas hardly ever bought alcoholic beverages. Where she grew up, people often made their own wine, and their own plum eau-de-vie. These they could also turn into aperitifs, by blending them together along with some sugar, fruit and/or herbs. Truth be told, the wine my grandfather made was not exactly Château Margaux, and his eau-de-vie was the most potent moonshine you can imagine – the kind you drink while holding on to the table (and, futilely, your brain cells). He also made a sweet white wine (which he called vermouth) that I remember fondly. I still have some of the eau-de-vie he distilled. It must be over 30 years of age by now, and hasn’t mellowed one iota with time. I had not found much use for it until now, but it turns out to be the perfect foil for a strong red wine in the vin de cerisier I wanted to make.

Vin de cerisier translates into cherry tree wine, and indeed, the flavoring comes not from the fruit but from the leaves of the tree. It’s unmistakably cherry-like, but definitely more – you guessed it – woody. The same can be done with peach tree leaves, white wine and a vanilla bean. It is a drink right out of the past, from an age when things needed and received time (you have to wait weeks before you can have some) and attention (it needs to be periodically shaken – not stirred). When you finally get to pour some in a glass, sip it slowly, and let your mind wander for a while.

Isn’t that the ultimate luxury?


Vin de cerisier


1 bottle of a strong red wine (Malbec works well)
10 cl strong cherry-flavored brandy, cognac or other potent liquor
7 oz (200 gr) sugar
40 cherry leaves

Place all ingredients in a jar and shake well until the sugar is dissolved.

Freshly made...

... and after a few days.

After 2 weeks, filter the vin de cerisier and bottle it. Then wait about 2 months before drinking it. The longer you wait, the better! I’ll report back around Thanksgiving to let you know how it all turned out.


2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Vin de cerisier, 1ère partie.”

  1. Deb Amlenon 03 Sep 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Good to see the barrel jar in use, and can’t wait to taste the results!

  2. Christineon 03 Sep 2012 at 5:47 pm

    I can only hope it turns out as good as I remember. You’ll definitely get to have a taste!

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