Wisniak (Cherry Cordial)

As labor day approaches, you are suddenly reminded that summer is nearing it’s end.  Even in Southern California, there are subtle changes.  The summer fruits and vegetables will start to disappear from the farmer’s markets, replaced with apples and pears, hard winter squashes and root vegetables.  Inevitably, I end up thinking that I didn’t enjoy enough of the stone fruits that are my personal favorites, peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries.  The plum galettes, peach cobblers and cherry pies will be replaced with apple cake and pumpkin bread.

My mother used to bake blueberry cakes and buns during the summer, but she also used summer fruits to make her own cordials, something her family did in Poland.  The dark sweet syrup was always a reminder of summer, especially when she spooned it into my hot tea in the middle of a New York winter.  Summer will slip away no matter what, but here is a way to capture just a little bit of it and put in a jar.

Happy Labor Day!


1 pound cherries
2 cups sugar
3 cups vodka

Rinse the cherries, towel dry,  and place in sterilized 1 quart jar.  Cover with sugar.  Add vodka (make sure fruit is covered with vodka) and cover tightly.

Store on a dark shelf for about 4 weeks before using.  Then strain out cherries, (don’t throw them away) and pour syrup back into jar.