Every preserver adds their own spin on jam. Sometimes its straight up classic seasonal fruit like Tigress’ Classic Sour Cherry Preserves. Marisa just posted a tea infusion. Kaela at Local Kitchen loves her chiles. Julia is a master of jelly. Kate at HGGH prefers to update classic flavors. Me? I unabashedly steal inspiration from all of them – only with loads of credit, of course. And then more often than not I add booze.
I’ve made great fruit jams and butters but almost all of them are taken to another level when you add a glug of the good stuff. My favorite jars have labels like sweet cherry whiskey, apricot amaretto or jameson ginger peach. It should come as no surprise I have a giant batch of blueberry meyer limoncello butter planned for this weekend. If I don’t melt before then, that is.
So needless to say when I am looking for inspiration my mind tends to head to the bar. I am a whiskey girl at heart, but I also have developed a taste for gin. Gin and lime go great together in case you haven’t heard. So do cherries and lime. So after picking 5+ pounds of very delicious but very expensive tart cherries, this boozy jam was a no brainer.
Sour Cherry Lime Rickey Jam
3 cups pitted and stemmed sour cherries
1.5 cups sugar
3/4 cup gin
zest of one lime (organic please)
juice of one lime
pectin to taste, if at all
Pit and stem your cherries. Either chop cherries in small pieces, or be prepared to mash once they are hot. Add cherries, gin, lime juice and sugar to the pot. Cook until it reaches desired consistency (mash if required). Skim off any foam. Cook to 220° and then add pectin and lime zest. Cook at a medium boil for about 5 minutes. Ladle into hot jars, top with hot lids, process for 10 minutes.
Gin-haters – fear not! This jam doesn’t taste like the “pine sol” flavor you hate. (Trust me, I know – I live with one of you. Its how I know the gin in the freezer will always be all mine.) The gin really adds a nice depth you can’t quite place, unless you knew it was gin. If you are a gin lover though, a splash right at the end will be much more prominent.
I have a confession to make. I didn’t can this jam. It’s still sitting in my fridge. I didn’t even get to add pectin, so it’s quite runny. I will probably add a tablespoon of low sugar pectin and seal it in two or three half pints once the temperature is out of the 90s later this week, but right now I am content to add it to my morning yogurt and afternoon cocktails. A few tablespoons of jam, another glug of gin, topped off with raspberry seltzer. A wedge of lime and we’re in business. Please try it – its so, so good.