Cherry Cognac, June 2021

Post last updated: 07/03/2021

Lorraine & I had a bit of miscommunication. She bought a 2 lb bag of cherries … and so did I. The bag she purchased was getting overripe, so I did what I did last year — I started a batch of Cherry Cognac.


I made a batch last year when I had a bag of overripe cherries, and it came out amazing. The one bummer is that it didn’t make a lot — three 375 ml bottles plus most of a 4th one. The pictured bottle is the first I’ve opened since I used up the 4th bottle last summer.

One design decision is “why cognac” instead of vodka or EverClear or even brandy?

Flavor. I like the taste of Cognac better than American brandy. Although to be honest, I didn’t use Cognac, I used French brandy, due to price.


First I pitted the cherries. I use a knife and cut around the pit, turn the cherry 90 degrees, and do it again. Three pieces pull off the pit easy, the 4th I have to use a finger nail to separate it. The riper the cherries, the easier this is.

My result was 22 oz cherries.

Next add Cognac (yeah, I’m using French brandy, but I’m gonna call it Cognac in this post). I eyeballed it and decided to use 2 cups per half pound cherries, rounded up. When I was done I had just a bit left in the bottle, so I added it. Final amount is 6-3/4 cups Cognac.

After the fact I searched on ratios and found a wide variety, everything from 2 cups : 1.5 lbs to 2 cups to 0.5 lbs.

My ratio is a bit light, so I may not get the best cherry flavor from this. Or I may sacrifice the last half pound of the current package of cherries and bump it up.

Now? I shake the jug daily for a couple of week, then weekly for 3 months. Strain it, sweeten to taste, and bottle.

For liqueurs I’ve been making a 1:1 sugar syrup (boil 1 cup water, stir in 1 cup sugar, then cool), and blending 3 : 1 so the liqueur drops from 80 proof to 60 proof. It’s probably less, because of cherry juice, but it’s in the ballpark.

Note: a wine glass of 60 proof liqueur (30% ABV) has the kick of 2-1/2 glasses of 12% ABV wine, so don’t slurp it down!


Cherries were cheap at Aldi’s, so I purchased a couple more pounds and put 12 oz of the prior batch into the mix. The grand total is 34 oz of cherries, just short of 2 lbs

The color is already very pretty, and the aroma is building. It smells more like cognac than cherries, but it’s only been steeping for 4 days.

I have an ancient fruit press, very small. I haven’t used it in close to 20 years. I’m going to clean it up, paint it with food grade paint, and press these cherries properly.

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