I've been looking for recipes for cherry vishnick and most of them involve just putting the cherries into a jar of vodka for several weeks. I'd been looking for a recipe that involves fermentation. I found one: http://pragmaticattic.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/homemade-sour-cherry-brandy-visinata-or-vishniak/
The part that involves fermentation:
Put 2 cups of cherries in a really large jar with a cup of sugar. Do not pit the cherries, she warned, because the pits are critical to the fermentation process. Let the fruit and sugar ferment for 2 weeks.
Has anyone tried this before? I'm thinking about doing this but I'm concerned that just putting cherries into water with sugar could easily get mouldy. Should I add some yeast too, to ensure that it ferments correctly? I'm guessing this recipe depends on wild yeast but I've never had any luck with that.
So I'm trying this out. After about a week, the sugar had drawn out all of the moisture of the cherries so now the wrinkly cherries are floating in this thick, pinkish syrup. I hadn't expected it to go as fast as it did - it probably went so fast because it's been unusually warm in the apartment this week. There's a very slight "sharpness" to the smell which might be the product of fermentation, but the taste is very sweet and I can't taste any alcohol. When I opened the jar today, it sounded like there was a bit of gas escaping. I might let it sit in the fridge for the second week, before I add the vodka.
I am making it again this summer (2013), and this time I am very certain there is some kind of natural fermentation taking place. There are many tiny bubbles all along the edge of the jar, at the top of where the cherries are. The bubbles only started appearing after about 90% of the sugar was dissolved. There's a distinctive sound of pressure being released when I open the lid on the jar, and it smells like it's fermenting (but not in a bad way). I think this time I will wait until the bubbles stop forming before I add the vodka, but I'm wondering if there's any way to estimate (based on the amount of sugar and sour cherries) how much alcohol is going to be produced by this natural fermentation...