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Christmas Cherry Liqueur

This is a riff on a Portuguese ginjinha.


I’ve never been to Portugal, but two honeymooners brought me back a bottle of this potent sweet cherry booze last year and I’ve been desperate to try making it for Christmas. So in the name of being inauthentic, I’m simply calling this Christmas Cherry Liqueur.


I had a great time mixing this concoction in the August sunshine, and with a few shakes and a few months I’m hoping it will be ready and perfect for cocktails in Advent. Watch this space.


  • 175ml red wine

  • 500ml vodka or grappa (you may not use all of it)

  • 200g cherries, halved and pitted

  • 100g caster sugar

  • ½ lemon, juiced

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 5 cloves

  • 4 cardamon pods

  1. Mix the cherries, lemon juice and sugar and leave (ideally in the sunshine) for 15 minutes.

  2. Sterilise a 750ml bottle (wash with soapy water and bake in an oven for 10 minutes until dry).

  3. Gently crush the cloves and cardamom pods with the flat of a knife.

  4. Add the cherries to the bottle once the bottle is cool.

  5. Ideally using a funnel, pour the wine over the cherries.

  6. Add the cinnamon stick, cardamom and cloves.

  7. Fill the bottle with the vodka or grappa, leaving a couple of centimetres at the top of the neck.

  8. Stopper the bottle and leave it for at least 2 months. Shake it about once a week.

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