Making moonshine from scratch requires lots of special equipment and lots of waiting. This shortcut cherry moonshine recipe is for impatient types like me!
OK so here is the thing about moonshine: distilling your own booze from scratch is freaking awesome. It's also not super legal, and there are a lot of points where it can go wrong.
Also, there are folks out there making kickass grain alcohols and vodkas, so you don't have to!
Instead of starting from scratch, I grabbed a pint of quality booze and infused it. Boom! Cheater's moonshine!
Most of the infused moonshine recipes I've seen call for grain alcohol, fruit, and a ton of juice and sugar. This is just not my speed at all. A little sugar in a cocktail sometimes is fine, but super sugary drinks just don't sit well in my belly.
To make my cherry moonshine, I used Tito's Handmade Vodka, which seems to be pretty widely available. I was able to buy some at the package store near my house.
Tito's is a vegan vodka, and it's got a very mild flavor. That last part is key to making this cherry moonshine, because you want the cherry and vanilla flavors to shine, not the booze.
This is the moonshine after five days of steeping. It's bright red, and the cherry-vanilla taste was just what I was after at this point.
To Strain, Or Not to Strain?
Some moonshine recipes say to strain out the fruit and herbs, and others say to leave them in. You can decide whether to strain this recipe or not based on how quickly you think you'll drink your cherry moonshine.
If you're planning to drink all of your moonshine within a few weeks, you don't need to worry about straining out the fruit. Strained, though, you can keep that infused booze in the fridge or freezer for years. It's totally your call!
Cherry Moonshine Recipe
- 2 vanilla bean pods - sliced in half lengthwise
- 16 ounce bag of frozen sweet cherries
- 1 pint good vodka or grain alcohol
- Use a small spoon to scrape the seeds from your vanilla beans into a quart-sized mason jar, then drop the beans in there too.
- Dump your cherries into the same jar, top off with the grain alcohol, and give the whole thing a good shake.
- Stick it into the refrigerator for at 3-6 days, shaking once a day. You can serve this up after a few days, or wait longer to let the cherry flavor get even stronger. I liked how it looked and tasted after 5 days of steeping.
- If you’re not straining: Store your cherry moonshine in the fridge. It will last 2-3 weeks.
- If you are straining: Once your cherry moonshine is as strong as you want it to be, strain it into a forever container and store in the fridge or freezer. This sucker will last for years!
- quart-size mason jar