Cherries are Christmas to me. As kids we would awake on December 25th to a bowl of cherries and sweets beside our bed. That and the small sack of presents at the base of our bed was meant to be a bribe to keep us quiet so our parents could stay asleep just a little bit longer. Yeah, like that was ever going to happen!
In Melbourne they come in a month earlier, so perhaps don't hit such a luxurious punch to the savvy kid about town. Whether it is because of the Christmas associations or just because they taste so good - cherries have always been special to me.
Other than eating them as quickly as possible the only other thing I have done with cherries is the Famous Cherry Vodka of 2003. In December this fine brew was laid down. Later the next month it was consumed in numerous shots with the neighbouring Tango Evangalists, who spent a whole afternoon teaching us how to dance. A good time was had by all.
Clean and dry a batch of ripe, luscious cherries. Discard any that could be even slightly dodgy looking. One bit of mould will spoil the whole batch.
Prick them gently to allow the juices to mingle.
In a sterile glass jar, place the cherries and a generous handful of sugar, then cover with vodka. I use Stoli or Absolut, because I like it. Make sure the cherries are well covered. Screw on the lid tightly.
Store out of direct sunlight for a minumum of two weeks.
Watch as the liquid turns ruby red.
Adjust sweetness to suit your palate, just add more sugar or sugar syrup* if needed.
Strain and rebottle.
Best drunk accompanied by singing and dancing.
* I'm sure you know how to make sugar syrup. For a heavy syrup use heat 1 part water to 1 part castor sugar, stir until dissolved.
if you really don't like the taste cherries, they make nifty earings as well