Cherry Leaf Wine
About 1 1/4 quarts (1.25l)
Mine tasted good after a week of marinating. But you might want to taste yours a few days before and see if it’s to your liking. It may also take a little longer to get the flavors into the wine, depending on the whims on nature. Use a fruity, inexpensive red wine. The kind that comes in the jug or box is fine. Pinot noir or merlot are two varieties that lend themselves to this apéritif wine, if you’re shopping my variety (cépage). One could omit the peppercorns and add other flavorings, such as a cinnamon stick, allspice berries, a few cracked cherry kernels, star anise, a vanilla bean, and/or a few wide strips of lemon or orange zest. Note that this wine is quite strong so serve it with plenty of ice to dilute it. Update: A number of people in the comments asked me about using other leaves for this apéritif wine. I’ve used peach leaves but not any others. If you have questions or concerns about leaves that you have, I recommend checking with your local cooperative extension (or nursery) to determine if they’re suitable to use.
50-60 cherry leaves, unsprayed
1 quart (1L) fruity red wine
1/2 cup (125ml) vodka
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
12 whole black peppercorns
1. Rinse the leaves and pat them dry. Put them in a large jar that has a lid.
2. Pour in the red wine and vodka. Add the sugar and peppercorns, cover, and shake well to dissolve the sugar. Let stand one week, shaking the jar a few times once per day. The leaves will wilt into the wine after a day or so, so not to worry if they aren’t all marinating in the wine at first.
3. When ready, strain the liquid into a bottle using a funnel and a mesh strainer (or cheesecloth). Discard the leaves. Chill the cherry leaf wine until ready to drink.

Serving: Serve the wine in glasses with plenty of ice.

Storage: The wine can be kept in the refrigerator for at least a year.