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Cordial of Sweet Cherries
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Rinse and drain the cherries and roll them on a towel to remove as much moisture as possible. Remove the stems. Divide the cherries between two sterilized dry quart jars (or use a half gallon glass storage jar with a gasket and a clamped lid, if you prefer). Divide the sugar between the two jars, using 2 cups if you are unsure how sweet you want the cordial to be (more can be added later). Add the brandy, which should cover the cherries and sugar generously. Cover the jars airtight and set them in a cool, preferably dark spot where you will remember to check them regularly. Shake the jars every few days or at least once a week; the sugar will gradually dissolve as the cherry juices join the brandy in the syrup. When all the sugar has dissolved, taste the syrup and decide whether you want to add more sugar; if you do, this is the moment. If the sugar is added, continue to shake the jars occasionally until it has all dissolved. Leave the cherries in the brandy for a minimum of 3 months; 5 or 6 months is not too long. Strain the cordial from the cherries and funnel it into clean, dry bottles. Cap or cork them (use new corks only) and store them out of the light. If you want to recycle the cherries, add to them half as much sugar and brandy as you used the first time and proceed as before. You may want to leave the cherries in this batch until time to pour the cordial in order to extract all possible flavor.
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