Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ratafia - Cherry Liqueur

This delicious wine-soaked cherry liqueur hails from the Abruzzo region, where we tasted it in a family-run trattoria in a splendid town called Sulmona.  Local Montepulciano and wild cherries were marinated together to create the perfect after-dinner digestivo.   The owner put the bottle on the table and invited us to help ourselves, then brought crunchy cherry-studded biscotti to dip into it.

I have learned that creating delicious liqueurs depends on the Biblical principle of 40 days and 40 nights - leaving the fruit and liquor to macerate that proverbial period of time draws out all the fruity goodness and makes luscious liqueurs!

Ratafia di Ciliegia

1 1/2 pounds pitted cherries
1 bottle Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
1 cup grain alcohol (or high-proof, good quality vodka)
1 stick of cinnamon
1 vanilla bean
a big glass jar or bottle that will seal well

Split the vanilla bean open and put it in the jar, along with the other ingredients.  Give it a shake and put it in a dark place for 40 days and 40 nights, shaking it gently every few days.  After the maceration period, strain it.

Combine 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan, bring to a gentle boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar, then turn off the heat and let it cool.  Add it to the liqueur, stirring well.  Divide into bottles and keep in a cool, dark place. 

We prefer the pretty gasket-topped bottles as they seal better and make a nice presentation for gift-giving.

photo credit: Faynor Orchards


YankeeSoaper said...

This sounds so scrumptious Val! I make lemoncello and plum brandy but haven't tried cherry liqueor. Am printing this off right now! TY for sharing.

Valerie said...

Yankee - It's not very common but really delicious! Those regional specialties are always the best! Enjoy.

carrieitly said...

Hmm, I've never heard of this! Sounds delish, can't wait to try it once our cherries come in. Graaazie.

Chef Chuck said...

How nice those cherry look, love them! ~ Your own Liqueur, sounds like fun!!

Torres#9 said...

Look delicious!

feel free to share some more recipes @
all things Italian!

CucinaPanzano said...

Valerie - I had to return to thank you for sharing this absolutely delicious recipe! I recently met a gentleman from Montepulciano who told me to wait until our fresh peaches show up at farmers market and to take a slice and dip in this scrumptious ratafia. I can't wait! This bottle will definitely be reserved for very close friends. It's just awesome!