How to CookItalian

Grappa Cherries

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Food52's Test Kitchen Manager, Jennifer Vogliano, shares her family recipe for grappa-soaked cherries.

My husband's mother was born in Navarons, Italy, and every year her father would pick wild cherries and soak them in homemade grappa. They would serve the soaked cherries, floating in fruit-infused grappa, as dessert on special occasions. This was considered a feminine, delicate drink, and was mostly offered to women; the men traditionally drank wine or straight grappa.

In keeping with family tradition, my husband's parents continued to soak grappa cherries every summer. They originally picked them from their wild cherry tree in Northport, Long Island, and later bought the summer's finest from local markets. They would soak the cherries from June to December, then give them as Christmas gifts to family and friends. 

Now my husband continues the tradition passed down by his parents and grandparents and makes grappa cherries every June -- enjoyed by the women and men in our family all year round.

Grappa Cherries

Makes 2 jars

1 bunch cherries
Enough grappa to cover

Glass jars with lids


First, wash your cherries, making sure to dry them thoroughly. 

Snip off all but 1/4 inch of each stem; it will act like a little umbilical cord that drinks up the grappa.

Pour over enough grappa to cover your cherries. Seal in an air-tight jar, and store in a cool, dark place for at least 6 months.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom 

Tags: Edible Gift, Fruit, Grappa, Summer, Gifts, DIY Food, How-To & Diy, Small Batch