Vishnick - Sweet cherry wine, or maybe it's a liqueur - Advice for bottling?

Discussion in 'Special Interest Wines' started by halcyon1234, Aug 3, 2012.

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  1. Aug 3, 2012 #1

    halcyon1234

    halcyon1234

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    A bit of history: Growing up, there was always this jar in the back of the fridge. It held a few cups of very wrinkled cherries, floating in a dark red liquid. It was vishnik, and that same jar had been sitting in a family fridge for decades.

    My family calls it wine, but I suspect it's a liqueur. It's very sweet, and very potent. It comes out only on very special occasions, and is usually served no more than an ounce at a time. If you're lucky, you'll also get to eat one of the cherries.

    I got married two years ago, and I thought it would be special to have vishnick for the toast. A year before that, I finally asked my father for the recipe for the vishnik. (It'll list it below). It takes sour cherries, Morello if you can get them. In Ontario, there's a two week period in the summer when they grow, and only on a very few cherry farms. My wife and I tripped down to the Niagara region, picked a few baskets. Washed, removed the stems, the 3/4 filled 4x 8 gallon jars. Topped them with sugar and lemon juice, then just left them on top of some bookshelves for the next year.

    The recipe worked perfectly. It was sweet, tart, full of cherry flavor.

    The only problem was I made, possibly, too much. My wedding had 80 guests in total, and everyone got 1 oz of the stuff. 80oz from, a couple dozen gallons left a lot over. And I made a second batch from the same cherries.

    So here I am, with a whole bunch of mason jars full of a sweet wine that may not be a wine. The next batch is almost done. I can keep it in the fridge pretty much forever, but it takes up too much space. I'd love to bottle it, keep it in the cellar, and/or give it away as special gifts.

    Any advice for a recipe like this? Can I bottle it? Are there any special considerations as far as equipment or procedure, or is it the same as bottling a regular wine? Any reliable way of figuring out its proof without using gunpowder? =)
     
  2. Aug 3, 2012 #2

    halcyon1234

    halcyon1234

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    The recipe, BTW: Take washed/stemmed cherries. Put in jar. Cover with enough sugar, not so the jar is filled, but so the top layer is covered. Squirt fresh juice of 1 lemon in. Leave for a couple days, then mix to ensure lemon juice is everywhere. Leave sealed for 3 months. Test, adjust tart/sugar levels. Leave for at least another 3 months. When it's ready enough, enjoy with your great grandchildren one day.
     
  3. Aug 3, 2012 #3

    ICELIA

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    That sounds like an awesome thing to try.
    Is there a particular kind of cherry to use?
    I want to give it a shot.
     
  4. Aug 3, 2012 #4

    ICELIA

    ICELIA

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    Oh, and I would imagine it would be best bottled in fancy 100ml or so bottles.
    And then a really ornate label.
    Treat it like real Balsalmic and should be a great gift!
     
  5. Aug 3, 2012 #5

    bob1

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    yep it can be bottled. Carboy it about 3 months then bottle.
     
  6. Aug 3, 2012 #6

    halcyon1234

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    I'm not sure. I think it was a Morello cherry, but according to my father, any sour or semi-sour cherry will do.

    I emailed the cherry farm I went to in 2009 to ask what kind they grow.
     
  7. Aug 3, 2012 #7

    halcyon1234

    halcyon1234

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    Got the answer: They're Mount Morenci Pie Cherries
     
  8. Aug 5, 2012 #8

    ICELIA

    ICELIA

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    This is intriguing, I am so trying this later this week. :) thank you for sharing your recipe, I wonder if it could be adapted to other kinds of fruit as well?
     
  9. Aug 6, 2012 #9

    halcyon1234

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    Post back in a year when it's ready. =)

    I bet blueberries would work really well.
     
  10. Aug 6, 2012 #10

    bob1

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    This is exactly what I have a Mount Morenci cherry tree for and pies of course. This is how I was taught to make wine. It works with most berries.
     
  11. Aug 16, 2012 #11

    ckassotis

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    So I'm intrigued by this recipe. So are you capping the jar after adding the cherries and sugar? I guess I'm wondering where the wine/liqueur comments come in. I'm not seeing any fermenting going on. Perhaps you are going to get lucky and get some wild variety of yeast, but otherwise you're ending up with cherries in sugary syrup. Am I missing something here?

    You do mention that it's potent, so I must be. I'm reading your post though and thinking wow, the brix must be up near 40 with that going on. What is going to ferment something that high?
     
  12. Aug 16, 2012 #12

    bob1

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    My last batch I sprinkled some ec1118 over them. 3/4 cup sugar per pound of cherries put in a bucket and set somewhere where they can warm a bit. Shake the bucket 2 times a day until fluid level quits rising. Decant off the liquor and carboy. Repeat 2 more times with the same cherries adding the liquor to the original batch then add something to shut down fermentation. Yes it should be strong and sweet.
     
  13. Aug 16, 2012 #13

    ckassotis

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    Hrm. So the original recipe doesn't call for a yeast, but I didn't see how that would work. I like this idea. So you add the EC1118 and then seal it and place it somewhere? Just wondering about the lack of oxygen for the yeast to get going/work ideally.

    Is there something else going on for those people that aren't talking about adding a yeast?
     
  14. Aug 16, 2012 #14

    g8keeper

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    well i have to admit, after reading the original posts, i did happen to do my own research about this on the web, googling visnik, or however it's spelled...i came to find out that it is more of an infusion/cordial more than anything else....it is essentially "drunken fruit", or in this case, cherries....what had been omitted in the original post is that vodka is added in the jars, along with the cherries and sugar...in time what happens is the cherries infuse the vodka, giving it flavor, and the sugar is for sweetness, not fermentation....and as for the lemon juice, i can only assume that is a preservative to help the cherries maintain their color throughout the process....i was curious myself where the alcohol came from myself, but after reading, i know understand more about this product...hope this shed more light on the subject...:h
     
  15. Aug 16, 2012 #15

    ckassotis

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    Ah hah. That is a whole lot less interesting, if that is the case. :(

    Thanks for the info though!
     
  16. Aug 16, 2012 #16

    BernardSmith

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    Vishniak

    I began a batch of vishniak about 10 months ago macerating the cherries in vodka at about 65-70 degrees but after about a month I strained the liqueur and removed the cherries and stored the carboy in the freezer. The flavors really improve the longer the bottle sits.
     
  17. Aug 17, 2012 #17

    ckassotis

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    So you're removing the cherries? The original post makes it sound like they stay in for good. Sounds like you're just doing an infusion, and not even a particularly long one.
     
  18. Aug 17, 2012 #18

    BernardSmith

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    an infusion - yes.

    I treated the process much as if I was making a version of limoncello, substituting chopped cherries for lemon zest. Not sure I know what the advantage would be to leave the cherries in for months or years. The alcohol would surely have pulled all the color and flavors and essential oils within the first few weeks. No?
     
  19. Aug 17, 2012 #19

    BernardSmith

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    an infusion - yes.

    I treated the process much as if I was making a version of limoncello, substituting chopped cherries for lemon zest. Not sure I know what the advantage would be to leave the cherries in for months or years. The alcohol would surely have pulled all the color and flavors and essential oils within the first few weeks, don't you think?
     
  20. Aug 17, 2012 #20

    tonyt

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    I make a recipe for every Holiday season that was handed down from my Father-in-Law, Bob. He and his older brother, Milo, made "Cherry Juice" as young men in Nebraska 70 odd years ago. Said their ancestors made it too.

    His recipe is to take a gallon glass jar, add two packages of frozen cherries or the equivalent of fresh cherries. Add 4 cups of powdered or granular sugar and fill with Tennessee Whiskey or Kentucky Bourbon. Stir - shake daily until the sugar is completely dissolved then weekly for 4 - 6 months. Then strain out the cherries, I use coffee filters. Cherries are good over ice cream. I serve in cordial glasses.

    He got me drunk on my A$$ more than a couple times on "Cherry Juice" . . . and that was BEFORE I married his daughter. Now I serve it to my son and son-in-law. Here's the label I made for it. Bob is on the left, Milo on the right. I Photoshopped the picture of them as there is no picture of them together.

    bob&milo.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012

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