I made VODKA CHERRIES for Christmas pressies last year. Many said they were awesome too.
- 250ml (1 cup) water
- 155g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
- 1 star anise
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
- 1 x 8cm-strip orange rind
- 700g fresh cherries, pitted
- 250ml (1 cup) vodka or port.
- Wash a 1L (4-cup) capacity glass preserving jar with plastic lid in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Drain on a rack.
- Place the water, sugar, star anise, vanilla bean and orange rind in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Add the cherries. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3-4 minutes or until cherries soften slightly.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cherries, star anise, vanilla bean and orange rind to the glass preserving jar.
- Bring syrup to the boil over high heat. Boil for 5 minutes or until syrup thickens. Add port and bring to the boil. Use a candy thermometer to ensure syrup reaches 85°C. Pour syrup over the cherries in the preserving jar and seal immediately. Turn upside down for 2 minutes. Turn upright and set aside until cool. Label, date and store in the fridge for up to 1 month.