Spiced Brandied Cherries

REDUCED TO CLEAR,” the label read. My eyes were glued instantaneously to the punnet of red cherries on the supermarket aisle. Who do not get tempted by a 65% reduction in price? At least I do. A kilo of red cherries from the USA can be sold for almost $40 in Singapore. Knowing that cherries could be rather pricey,  a 65% reduction in price makes it extremely compelling for me to take action — just BUY IT! And so, I had about 680 grams of red cherries at S$ 9.88; that was a pretty good deal although there were slight bruises, but on just a handful of them. Next question, what can I do with these cherries?


It is always a bit depressing for not able to get alcohol-infused cherries with decent quality to make Black Forest cake. The store-bought maraschino cherries are usually not boozy; and the fact that the cherries are normally bleached and soaked in sweetener with artificial colouring makes me stay away from them as far as I can. Therefore, I decided to make my own spiced brandied cherries.

Ingredients (yield: one 1-litre jar)

Cherries 680g
Sugar 200g
Water 200g
Lemon 1 no. (zest and juice)
Cinnamon stick 1 piece
Cloves 3 no.
Star anise 1 piece
Vanilla pod 1 piece
Brandy 250g


  1. Rinse the cherries and pluck the stems. Remove the cherry pits, but do not throw them away yet. [Since I did not have a pitter at home, I used the poke method to get rid of cherry pits. A chopstick was all I needed. Just insert the chopstick from the stem-end and push it until you hit the pit, and push it out all the way through.]
  2. In a small pot, put in cherry pits, sugar, water, zest of one lemon, cinnamon stick, cloves, star anise and vanilla pod. Split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds out before putting it into the pot. img_8460.jpg
  3. Bring the syrup to a boil. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer for about 7 minutes. Then, add the lemon juice.
  4. In another medium pot, place the pitted cherries. Pour and strain the hot syrup over the pot of cherries. Reserve the vanilla pod for later use and discard the rest. img_8461.jpg
  5. Bring the pot of cherries in syrup to a simmer. Remove it from the heat and add in the brandy.
  6. Transfer the hot cherries and syrup into a sterilized jar, including the vanilla pod as well. Seal the jar and store in refrigerator for at least 4 weeks.


Now, patience is all I need before I can use the brandied cherries for my Black Forest cake. Until then, let’s enjoy a sip of brandy ;P

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